Would You Accept Google's Free Netbook?

When Google first announced what it called Chrome OS, back in July, it said it would open source the code “later this year”. Last week it made good on that promise with the release of the code for what is now called Chromium OS, and the first analyses have started rolling in. They're mostly tinged with a vague air of disappointment, as if Chromium OS isn't quite as exciting as people hoped. But might Google be aiming much, much higher – and planning to turn the personal computing sector on its head by offering computers that cost nothing?

Open source is clearly an important part of making that happen: it brings the unit cost of software close to zero. But there's still the small matter of the hardware to be paid for. In fact, costs there can also be brought right down, since Chromium is optimised for netbook form factors. As Google noted at the launch of its new operating system:

First, it's all about the web. All apps are web apps. The entire experience takes place within the browser and there are no conventional desktop applications. This means users do not have to deal with installing, managing and updating programs.

That also means you don't need hard discs or even much RAM. It also emphasised:

Most of all, we are obsessed with speed. We are taking out every unnecessary process, optimizing many operations and running everything possible in parallel. This means you can go from turning on the computer to surfing the web in a few seconds. Our obsession with speed goes all the way down to the metal. We are specifying reference hardware components to create the fastest experience for Google Chrome OS.

“Taking out every unnecessary process, optimizing many operations” also implies that you can use lower-cost processors than before. That just leaves the screen, but costs have been plummeting there, too. I'm no engineer, so I find it hard to come up with an exact build cost for a minimalist Chromium OS netbook, but I imagine we're talking ten or twenty dollars, rather than one or two hundred.

Still, even this small cost has to be paid for if the machines are to be given away, and once more, that's where the Web-based nature of the Chrome OS experience comes in. It would trivial for Google to place advertising not just in search pages, but in the applications themselves. Already, it is rolling out ads to more and more of its services. More significantly, perhaps, it has also brought AdSense ads *inside* a desktop application, Google Earth. That makes ads inside word processors and spreadsheets a much smaller step.

Google needs to look at this new market because it has nowhere else to go if it wants to continue growing (as it must do to keep its shareholders happy). It already totally dominates targeted ads of the kind provided by its AdSense. Display advertising on the Web is the next obvious move, and Google recently bought the company Teracent to do just that:

Teracent's technology can pick and choose from literally thousands of creative elements of a display ad in real-time — tweaking images, products, messages or colors. These elements can be optimized depending on factors like geographic location, language, the content of the website, the time of day or the past performance of different ads.

Note, though, that same technology would also work rather well with the content of Web-based *desktop* applications, which are, in effect, private, miniature Web sites.

People already put up with ads alongside Google search results and in Gmail; I don't think many would think twice about the offer of a completely free netbook that had suitably discreet advertising appearing throughout the system: Google could play on the fact that it has so far treated its user with reasonable respect as far as the intrusiveness of ads go. Google has emphasised that Chromium OS is designed as an ancillary computer, not something that is necessarily in your face all the time, so it's not as if you would be bombarded all day long.

But by reducing the cost of this second computer to zero, it could make sure that millions – maybe billions – of people would always have the lightweight, small form-factor Google netbook to hand when they needed to look up something, check Facebook and Twitter, or even knock out a quick document. The unexpected success of netbooks over the last two years shows there is a market for this new kind of computing; giving away systems for free would take it to the next level. Then, gradually, that instant-on, secure, secondary netbook might become the one you spend most time on, and Google's ad revenues would climb even higher....

So, if Google offered you a fast, light, compact netbook for nothing, in exchange for a few ads appearing here and there as you work, would you accept? Or do you think the price you would pay in terms of the company knowing even more about what you do on an hour-by-hour basis would be just too high?

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soboog's picture

I would gladly take one and leave it as it is.
I just lost everything I own so the thought of being able to acquire a net book for free is very intriguing.

free google netbook?

Anonymous's picture

I'd be glad to take one just to get away from windows and microsoft!! I love my chrome browser so....send it on!


Ceda's picture

"Most of all, we are obsessed with speed. We are taking out every unnecessary process, optimizing many operations and running everything possible in parallel. This means you can go from turning on the computer to surfing the web in a few seconds. Our obsession with speed goes all the way down to the metal. We are specifying reference hardware components to create the fastest experience for Google Chrome OS."
This sounds awesome

I think you are speaking to the wrong audience.

Free laptop's picture

Hmm, I think you are speaking to the wrong audience. Most computer buffs would probably only get one to crack it. But what about the people who would be most interested in a free computer, ie students, casual computer users who primarily use their machine for browsing (like me) and people in developing countries? I think they would LOVE a free computer. Lets face it, people love free shit.


Anonymous's picture

"Taking out every unnecessary process, optimizing many operations also implies that you can use lower-cost processors than before. That just leaves the screen, but costs have been plummeting there, too. I'm no engineer, so I find it hard to come up with an exact build cost for a minimalist Chromium OS netbook, but I imagine we're talking ten or twenty dollars, rather than one or two hundred"

Do you know shit? honestly. 10-20 bucks? really..just wow.

No your wrong, I think this

Anonymous's picture

No your wrong, I think this is a great idea, with everything on the net who cares if you can't remember the name of the song. Plus i just found a netbook for a 100 dollars on pricewatch.com. Its farfetched but just think if they actually did it, plus free wifi, you might be spending more time in the sun and actually enjoying the company of people the original intelligence!

Dateline: Year 2040 Top News

Anonymous's picture

Dateline: Year 2040

Top News story:

"The "Global Organization Of Government Leading Earth" GOOGLE, decided today to rename the Earth to its own name. Hence from now on we live on the planet called Google."

nuff said!

Not for me thanks

Anonymous's picture

I've avoided google ever since I watched the very good documentry on the Company. With that girl (forgot her name, you know the one). Sitting there responding to questions regarding you're personal data. Saying something like, "we just dont see it that way". and explaining why they have to hold you're data for years and years, (forever) was to improve services like SPELLING.. on searches.

Also interesting with "ad sense" type things, is our local (in Australia) online TV guide.

I clicked on a Doco about a Ferry desaster in Greece, the add provided with that link was for "discount Greek ferry cruises".

On the same web page was the description on the doco about the Ferry sinking and many people drowning.

(oh yea, it was Marissa Mayer, but I cant find the specific youtube, there are so many of her).

Google: Build IT and they will COME! Welcome, Cyborgs!

John and Dagny Galt's picture

Google: Build IT and they will COME! Welcome, Cyborgs!


Built By Google!

Pete logs onto his desktop computer. It’s a “dumb” netbook built by Google and called Google Chrome Superbook 5, with a fast startup time of 0.3 seconds, the point at which the Google engineers figured further optimizations were not useful, in terms of limitations of human perception.

John and Dagny Galt
Starving The Monkeys, Owners Manual For The Universe!(tm)


I like it

Anonymous's picture

My local ISP and bank already giving computers out for free as a trap for signing up their accounts.

So, they will have to pay me some $ to accept a free Chrome OS powered computer. :)

free parts

Anonymous's picture

I'll take one...and take it apart!

If they really did make them free I can see them being snapped up by 'recyclers' for their precious metals, being melted down without even being turned on...

i want netbook

mikee's picture

i would love to have one coz i badly need it

LCD screen costs

Ralph Doncaster's picture

"Current notebook panel prices range from US$61-80"


Treah's picture

Yeah lets give away net-books for no or little cost. Lets not think about the mountains of techno waste that is generated by everyone's obsession with the newest phones. People really need to start thinking about how the production of this stuff is contaminating the environment and causing problems that as of yet we still cannot resolve. Little do people who work in the technology industry know that the so called recycling that is done to electronics is really just shipping them to china to be melted down in open pit fires for there precious metals releasing tones of deadly toxins into the air and water.

your comments Treah

Paul1.5's picture

I am a conservative in principal, I dont care much for attacks on capitalism. But. You said it exactly. How we recycle and save the environment. Recycle (ship to China who does God knows what with it,incinerate mostly as you say) Then beat our chests at our cleanliness and social responsibility while people are abused and the world actually really becomes more polluted. But we arent allowed to confront an "ally"

eye agree; waste is big problem

Anonymous's picture

we have lost the idea of repair or upgrade. Every thing is use once and throw away.

thing is, more than likely

Anonymous's picture

thing is, more than likely clones will help compete. with further satellite networks, and new high/low tech, low altitude wireless dirigible networks, the amount of data that could be created in isolation, combined with limited sensing and processing/compatibility capability of outside networks, would ensure that no party, not even google in all its holy splendour, could have complete control of information. as long as we keep cracking the boxes and demanding something for nothing, we'll be fine.

i would so would my family.

Ronald8472's picture

i would so would my family. google knows more than enough already in for a penny and all.

Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts!

Zeke Krahlin's picture

Hmmmm...a Trojan horse in the guise of a free netbook. Clever.

how fast is fast enough?

Pingu's picture

also, Im not so sure speed is all that important factor for most people. the netbooks if not proves kind of indicates that at least.

I got one of the early netbooks with custom light Linux on it, this one went from cold state to ready for given program start in about 10-15 sec.

now these are all near impossible to find and only the Windows XP versions are in stores, these start and operate a lot slower. like 40-60 sec from cold, and then some when the usual "Windows sluggishness" sets in after a few months of use.

also, I later replaced the the perfectly adequate Linux on mine for a more "full" distro, this one boots nearly as slow as XP does. so I guess speed is not that important for me either.

(the warm wake time is 1 sec for either Linux version, and I suppose thats enough)

NO To Free Netbook In Exchange for Ads

Snow Crash 1000's picture

>So, if Google offered you a fast, light, compact netbook for nothing, in exchange for a few ads appearing here and there as you work, would you accept?

NO, rather pay a nominal amount and enjoy ad free.

BTW, there were 'Free' Internet service models tried, example Juno(ad supported e-mail), a few others. They failed.

Re: No Ads Via Paid Internet Access Versus Free Access With Ads

John and Dagny Galt's picture

Re: No Ads Via Paid Internet Access Versus Free Access With Ads


We use Firefox with AdBlock Plus, Ghostery, BetterPrivacy, Flashblock, NoScript, and a few others and STILL get ads and other crap.

And that's paying big bucks for the interwebs!

Can't wait for Google Devices, Google Software, and Google Internet Access to wreak havoc with HP, Microsoft, and ATT/Comcast!

Can't happen soon enough!

Can't wait for the internet to totally bankrupt the insider-controlled main stream media and their continued attempts to smash a free and open-source internet!

Have you read Tom Baugh's new book yet?

John and Dagny Galt
Starving The Monkeys, Owners Manual For The Universe!(tm)


AT shrugged

Paul1.5's picture

Its all about control

Children Self-Educate Via Parents, Communities, Global-Web-Pedia

John and Dagny Galt's picture

Children Self-Educate Via Parents, Communities, Global-Web-Pedia

Toddles Building Computers at ZaReason.

Who needs Barney and Big Bird when you've got Google and the whole planet at your fingertips!



Another Point Regarding The Coming Google Cyborg Planet

John and Dagny Galt's picture

Another Point Regarding The Coming Google Cyborg Planet



What I don't get is why

Anonymous's picture

What I don't get is why people are so afraid of having their information stored on the cloud.
I mean, your information is everywhere, from a telephone book to the public offices. And everyone can get it. Anyone can find physically where you live by stalking you or by looking in some lost registry that has the name of your father.

Information wants to be free. All information. Maybe you can hide it, but hiding it in the cloud is the same as hiding it in your home computer or in your wallet. It can always be stolen. It can always be found.

Private information has its own laws to remain private; and Google follows those laws. If you say Google gave out IP's from some users (or maybe all users, it doesn't matter) in India it's because it is a law abiding company, and it did what every other company would do. If you can name one big company that cares about itself not giving information to the police, then maybe you can win the discussion about Google not letting you store your own data.

And let's not forget that it's not people that are having your information; computers own it. I trust computers more than I trust people I don't know (I mean, I trust more on the people I like than on computers, but that's just obvious) on this things, because they don't want to do evil. Just remember the good ol' days, where you gave all your personal information to the grocery owner. Was this a breach of privacy? Would you do it again? Even though the owner is a man you don't know more than the couple words you shared every day? I'm sorry, but I think computers are just better than him.

And yes, I understand that the machines are ran by people, that this can mean that computer cannot be trusted the same or more than a person, but technology is, thankfully, eliminating the middle man. No one knows where your information is stored, no one knows what they have about you, no one knows you. Get over it.

And, as the third to last paragraph explains, if the grocery owner can make my shopping more pleasant knowing my information, as Google makes my Internet browsing more comfortable by eliminating horrible necessary ads that I don't care about, I think we'll arrive to the conclusion that sharing information with a computer is better than sharing with a persona. But what do I know? I'm not Google.

You forgot the principle of democracy and the meaning of freedom

Annakan's picture

""If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place,"
E. smith, Google CEO

I think You forgot the principle of democracy and the meaning of freedom.

And it really frightens me.

Do you mean that if somebody stole something from you it is right for him to steal from you again ?

Let's face the true meaning of "Free" as in "Google free": you pay with something that invaluable : your personal data and behavior pattern. Something that is YOU for all intend or purpose for people that are not you. (Meaning that you are not what you LOOK and DO yourself but for other people you ARE what you look and do).
These liars want to make us think that invaluable means without value, but if it has no value WHY do they want it so much ?

But the joke is it HAS not the value they think it has, UNLESS we share that thinking unconsciously.
Let me explain : there is no REAL value in bringing me the supposed me-tailored search result based on previous choices (or what they think was my choices) or my friend choices : previous behavior is NOT an indication of future behavior. But the net effect is that it is a self fulfilling wrongness, because I can't discover new things and so escape the "prediction landscape" they impose on me if they narrow that result set enough : and it is what they do.
So they are into information attrition and the destruction of information diversity, in exchange of bigger TRENDS. They kill the future, the diversity, the small choices, the possibility of change in exchange of conformity and trends that generate bigger short terms revenues and reduce the set of players on the market and the political landscape.
As usual : short terms gains at the price of HUGE long term costs, funding the present with the consumption of the future.

Now on a more up to the point objection of what you said. You are wrong to assume that mostly machine and middle-manning of processes makes you secure of prying eyes.
Google makes no mystery of its collaboration with ANY authorities in ANY states. (nice china? great Russia ? "patriot" Act anyone ? ).

The point is what Google is building is a panoptycon : even is everybody is not under surveillance, everybody CAN be and that is enough to change a democracy into a veiled or not so veiled dictatorship. It is also enough to make arbitrary the norm and silence anybody by just "pulling up its file".... And research show that under a panoptycon people behave differently, with less freedom, less diversity, they try to conform to what they think is what is expected : and THAT is the point.

But I welcome Mr Raymond FULL datas and complete information transparency about himself. I am sure we could dig things that even him would find armless and that could none-less be sniped in a really damaging PR stunt, or even lawsuit.

Never, ever lied? never done a bad thing ? never told an ambiguous thing ? Never engaged into monopolistic practice ? never ever ? ;)

Again a tell tale sign of the wrongness of it, a clear sign of how rotten it is, is the information asymmetry : they ask US to thrust them but they would never trust US with THEIR information : you can't see what Google stores about you, you can't know how mr Bernanke spend YOUR money to "save the system" (the first thing he asked in its save plan
was immunity of pursuits), you can't know why you are arrested under the patriot act, and to make the loop complete : you can't call a lawyer ...

And all this is connected, not in a conspiracy sense, in a trend sense : we renounced to be citizen, we renounced our values, we renounced what make us strong and truly open : accountability, plurality, privacy, presumption of innocence and such ...

Source of the quote :http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/12/07/schmidt_on_privacy/


Annak's picture

sorry for the typos and grammar I was a bit "pissed of " :)

"But I welcome Mr Raymond .."
should be read
But I welcome Mr SMITH..."

good points

Glyn Moody's picture

I think the fear comes from the fear of aggregation of data - something your grocer could never do. It's putting your information with that of your family, friends, colleagues, enemies, etc., and finding out things about you that you thought only you knew...

But it may well be that we're moving down a one-way street, and that this is our future whether we want it or not. Open everything, all the time...


Ken Sarkies's picture

I can't see $20 for a useful product. There needs to be some quality in case and keyboard at least, and there is a lot still needs to go on the motherboard. I would guess $100 would be nearer the mark.

It could be usable if the ads are like they are now: we get immune to them and no longer notice them. If they are blatant in-your-face things as some have become, then I'm not interested.

But there is an interesting phenomenon that most people don't realize. A while ago some crowd tried to introduce a newspaper here that was free and fully supported by ads. It collapsed after a short time. No-one was interested. People seem to reason that anything free is crap and they prefer to spend money to get what they see is quality (all commercial newspapers are crap anyway but most don't see it. If it wasn't for Gary Larson we would never buy one).


I would...if they would (read on!)

Anonymous's picture

...and only if Google would raise a little finger to protect the user of the free netbook.

Instead, Google has been handing over Google users' IP addresses to the police (in India), including one user not even remotely connected to the complaint.

What they did in India was terrible:
Google helps Indian Police jail the wrong guy

Google would hand over IP addresses to Indian police pretty tamely. (Google assists Indian Police arrest Orkut users).

If I ever use the internet to express my views, I should think twice if the free netbook is worth it. Thankfully I am not writing this on a Google netbook.

Agreed that Indian Police is not famous for their incorruptibility; they are known to act on behalf of private interests and "influential parties". But Google the all-knowing should have known all this, yet it continues to hand over IP addresses tamely even today. Private parties have obtained IP information through police and used it to harass.

Check Asian blogger resisting search for another Asia instance. Will this be the last ? I don't think so!

So would I use a free netbook from Google ? No, Nay, Nyet, Nein, Nahin, Never.

Google Watch(dog)

Zeke Krahlin's picture


More dirt on Google!

I'd take one, and then strip

Moi's picture

I'd take one, and then strip it of its OS, hahaha.

Remember the "I-opener", anyone?

Zeke Krahlin's picture

Circa 1999-2002, it was a cheap standalone net appliance that cost a mere $99. A circle of eight icons were displayed on the screen, one each for: mail, shopping, weather, finance, entertainment, sports, news, and something called "web guide".

And because the screen was LCD (on top of everything else) at a time when such displays were quite expensive, it was just too tempting for hackers to ignore. In fact, it was hacked to death, and quite a hot topic for many moons in the geek universe. As a member (and founder) of the Berkeley Unix User Group (BUUG), I got to see one close up that another member purchased (for hacking mayhem, of course).

You can even view our threads discussing this appliance. Just search for "opener" in our March and April 2000 pages:



This remarkable device was grossly underpriced, and it may have been the most hacked device in geek history.

So, the Google Chrome Netbook has its precursor! Let's hack this puppy like it's 1999 (again)!



(Predictably, the I-opener was taken off the market by 2002, 'cause too many customers hacked it to bypass using their paid account, which they quickly cancelled.) :D

Me Me Me

Barryc's picture

Open source and Linux always talk about Community. We thrive on sharing of ideas, we may even see ourselves as harbingers of change - "heralds of a new world" as it were. Maybe even a little "revolutionary" talk, that of the little guy up-against-it-all.

Its always clear to me how much my first impressions deal with myself, eg how does this affect ME. How would I like this. Its normal and human to do so I expect. The idea of a free netbook (or the idea of being given a gift) is interesting and I expect looking back at the technical discussions it has captured a bit of our imaginations.

My memory kicked in and I looked up the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project to remind myself that Linux Can Be Used To Do Good, but was amazed to note that they are producing these laptops for $199 US apiece. The engineer here says "but I imagine we're talking ten or twenty dollars, rather than one or two hundred". So are Googles laptops going to be Eco-Evil and not Eco-Friendly? How can they be so cheap - or is it a load of hogwash.
My comment is this:
Free laptops will only be available to the rich - Those who already have running water, electricity, money to spend, because they are the ones who will buy based on the advertising pressed into their faces as they use the netbooks. I have a problem with this.

Education/Information is one side of world poverty, one other leg of the problem is that we intrinsically think of ourselves first rather than thinking of others. Google can afford to give away free laptop because they get much back in return from advertising .
What if the brighest 7 million of the two-thirds-world children were given these laptops for free with the challenge to make the world a better place to live? Thats only $140M +plus a bit more to get them into the right hands.

So, sure I would like my free laptop. How many will they give me and let me give away to someone who needs it more than me? I have my doubts they will appreciate the advertising in the way its offered though.

And no, I'm not connected to OLPC in any way.

Community is like 'open', it means different thing to people

Anonymouser's picture

>Open source and Linux always talk about Community.

Peole within the communities (because its more than one.... the kernel guys have little to do with Nuno who does the great KDE visuals) have different goals and beliefs.

Some like Miguel de Icaza cant stop lauding Microsoft technologies and 'drooling' over them and telling people that free software is not good if you want to make money, some are in it for business reasons and others are in it for ethical reasons. Some just want to hack and appreciate not having to deal with people outside of IRC and just code to their hearts content.
In this community, you have murderers, pedophiles and rapists. Just like in any other community, it is a microcosm of society and people love to label things (I was wondering this week what a gay restaurant was exactly. Is the food gay, the patrons or the owners? Why does it even matter?)

These varied people have a only few small things in common and people are shocked when they are disagreements.

I hear people talk about community and the blogosphere and its usually a warning to switch to some other article.

I went off topic a bit because you did too since your non sequitur could have been attached to any tech articles.
Yeah, poverty is a bitch and the same people who rape and plunder those countries are the same ones trying to 'help' them. Which is how we got that Live8 sham where the G8 nations lead by the great humanitarians Bush and Blair (the frauds Bono and Geldof praised the 2 war criminals as saints) were lauded for promising money that had already been promisd 10 yrs earlier and never delivered.

Those countries will not change based on a few laptop handouts, there has to be wholesale changes made like in Venezuela (where the majority of the population had never seen a doctor or dentist).
The feelgood programs are usually temporary but at least you feel you are doing soemthing I guess.

Dont lose your passion but dont jump offtopic like that lecturing on a problem that is more complicated than "give them laptops and everything will be better."
We live on a planet where millions die each year because they have no drinking water. Were health care is unknown to many more.
We live on a planet where one country has almost 1000 bases in 130

Deal with these problems because laptops wont solve them.

Parable of the Laptop Billionaire

Zeke Krahlin's picture


A tech tale ahead of its time...apparently.

Quit Crying

Anonymous's picture

Go hug a tree. Adopt 100 starving kids. You can't change animal nature. Deep down everyone thinks of themselves first, it is survival instinct. Deal with it.

quit it yourself

quixote's picture

He wasn't crying. But you sure are growling. Why so defensive?

these are good points

Glyn Moody's picture

I wasn't trying to describe what i thought *should* happen, but what might. Unfortunately, it's hard to get people to look beyond their own concerns. But that's why I see free software as a hopeful sign - that people can give back, and realise that sharing means everyone benefits.

Use your imagination

Scooter Dude's picture

Let's imagine that millions flock to this OPEN SOURCE platform, using all Google apps. Then someone says, neat, but let's build a netbook that allows storage of local apps, like Skype and Thunderbird or other pop email client. Then someone adds samba and VNC so they can connect the remotely to the desktop at home. None of this requires more than a 2 gig stick or card.

Maybe even backup files on a local drive or USB.

And some enterprising person reasons that some people don't like EVERYTHING in the cloud and figures out how to hook an old desktop PC into a home cable connection, transfornming the old desktop PC into a DVR and file server. Google apps can be used online, but the files would stored on our own home server and perhaps backed up on the cloud if we so choose. Creating a home cloud, accessible from a variety of devices from anywhere.

You could watch DVR programs on the netbook or iPhone, the minvan entertainment system, or read books from a Kindle, netbook or iPhone. Who is to say Comcast or Dish Network will not a cloud service exposing you to their wares? IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Novell? Local clouds could spring up like local ISPs did in the mid 1990s.

And Mom and Dad will be thrilled to be able to buy cheap Google-type Books for the kids. Because the "real grown up" computer will be the home server, parents will be able to control what kids can do (and what harm can be done) to the server. Netbooks, Chrome, iPhone, Nook and Kindle will be nothing more than devices used to interface the server.

And parents will be able to act as administrators over their children's Google account, using a credit card to prove they are the grown ups in the house. Parents will be able to monitor web, email and PC activity of their kids, without additional software (Dashboard). Google now has your data, your kids data and your credit card. How convenient!

Yep, there are babies born everyday who do not know that data should be stored locally and Google should not be completely trusted. The toddler of today will grow up on Google devices and their parents will be the ones to put them in their hands because they are cheap, and controllable.

And by the year 2030, 18 year olds (born 2012) will only know of Microsoft as some company that has something to do with big servers somewhere far away, with a similar level of brand awareness that Cisco or Sun enjoys with the 18 year olds of today.

these are tools...

Glyn Moody's picture

...it's up to us to decide how or whether to use them. That's why I think it's worth considering the issues now, before it happens...

Why stop at netbooks?

Bob In Massachusetts's picture

This same approach could apply to televisions, radios and all sorts of appliances. Give the television out for free, stream the video across the wire to the television and show ads occasionally to pay for it, perhaps in small horizontal screen below the TV screen. Give people a remote that includes a pointer so they can click on the ads to browse the web to the advertiser's web site. Ditto for radios. Free refrigerator if you hook it up to the web and tolerate ads that appear on a screen on the fridge door. And on and on it goes...

we probably won't...

Glyn Moody's picture

once TVs and fridges are hooked in to the Net, these kind of options become available and will surely be tried out. Now is a good time to think about whether we want that...

Kudos To Glyn Moody For A Great Article And Wonderful Comments!

John and Dagny Galt's picture

Kudos To Glyn Moody For A Great Article And Wonderful Comments!

John and Dagny Galt
Starving The Monkeys, Owners Manual For The Universe!(tm)


I'll take one. Probably put

Anonymous's picture

I'll take one. Probably put haiku on it.

Would You Accept Google's Free Netbook?

ChromeOSTester's picture

Would You Accept Google's Free Netbook?... Certainly

I would suggest that the

Alex Latchford's picture

I would suggest that the next step in this would be a subscription model, if you don't want the adverts then pay google to remove them much like Spotify is currently doing.. Turns your one off cost into a reliable revenue stream..

This in turn will drive further innovation, personally I don't like the idea of a single company owning all the data, but I like the technology and the vision behind cloud computing, just wish that there was better distribution though..

I would gladly accept and

Anonymous's picture

I would gladly accept and use a GoogleBook. If i want privacy, i will pay for a computer that offers it.

Sure, but then I would take

sims's picture

Sure, but then I would take the scavenge the parts and embed it into my car or front door or something. I'll take 10! Nice little cluster - LOL! Google has a great business model. However, I personally am not a customer. Try scroogle.org...