‘Tis the season for Chromebooks

The Chrome team elves have been busy packing a few goodies into Chromebooks in time for the upcoming holiday season.

A simple, streamlined user interface

From the moment you hit the power button and watch your Chromebook boot up in eight seconds flat, you’ll notice that the operating system got a bit of a facelift. For example, the Chromebook now sports a fresh, clean login experience.

We’ve also revamped the New Tab page to make it easier to manage your apps, bookmarks and most visited sites. By popular demand, we’ve added a few handy new shortcuts to the New Tab page: a shortcut to the File Manager on your Chromebook, as well as to music apps and games in the Chrome Web Store.

You may have also noticed, we recently gave the Chrome Web Store a new look, so that you can easily scan the wall of images to discover fun and useful apps and extensions.

Hassle-free for the holidays

We’ve heard from many of you that one of the things you enjoy most about the Chromebook is its hassle-free simplicity. If you’re someone who’s often called upon to provide tech support when you’re home for the holidays like I am, you’ll be happy to know that the Chromebook gets your loved ones up and going on the web quickly, without the usual pains of computing like seemingly endless boot times and setup manuals. With that in mind, we wanted to share a few updates to the lineup of Chromebooks that make them more giftable to loved ones.

For folks in the United States, Samsung is introducing a sleek, black version of its Wi-Fi only Samsung Chromebook Series 5.

We’ve also been working closely with our partners to continually improve the overall Chromebook experience while making them even more affordable. So, we’re excited to share that beginning this week Acer and Samsung Chromebooks will be available starting at $299. The updated prices will be available through our online retail partners.

Lastly, if you’re in the U.S. and you’d like to take a Chromebook for a test drive, visit the Samsung Experience in New York City or check one out when flying with Virgin America. We’re excited to hear your feedback, as we continue to build a faster, simpler and more secure experience on a computer that always gets better. In the meantime, we’ll leave you with one in a series of new film shorts that highlight some of the reasons why we think Chromebooks make a great holiday gift.

The computer that keeps getting better...

One of the things that excites us about Chromebooks is that unlike other computers, the user experience automatically gets better over time. For instance, with this week's latest stable release of Chrome OS, users may notice their Chromebooks now resume even more quickly – 32% faster in most cases. For those of you who like watching movies and TV shows on your Chromebook, you now also have the option to do so using Netflix. If you'd rather enjoy a good read, you’ll be able to fire up the Amazon’s new Kindle Cloud Reader app, read your favorite books and even take them offline when you’re not connected. If you need to print, you can give trees a break and use the Print to Docs feature with Google Cloud Print instead.

For businesses and schools, we also have a host of new features launching this week. If you use Citrix in your organization, you can now install the Citrix Receiver Tech Preview app from the Chrome Web Store to access desktop software such as Adobe® Photoshop® directly from your Chromebook. In addition, this latest release brings VPN and secure Wi-Fi support (802.1X).

Along with these new features, our recent update delivers many bug fixes and improvements under the hood. Chromebook users should automatically get this release this week. As a consumer, business or school, all you need to do is relax and let your Chromebook do the work. We hope you enjoy the experience of a computer that keeps getting better.

Update 8/10: Added link to more information on Print to Docs feature

Update 8/11: Updated link to new Google Cloud Print site

Summer travel with a Chromebook

A Chromebook makes a great travel companion, with its 8-hour battery life, light weight, built-in Wi-Fi and available 3G. So we’ve teamed up with Virgin America and Ace Hotel to give you the chance to experience a Chromebook on your summer travels.

When you fly Virgin America from San Francisco, Chicago O’Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth or Boston, look for the Chrome Zone near your departure gate. Check out a Chromebook for free and browse away with complimentary Wi-Fi in the terminal and on your flight.

If your travel plans include a stay in the Big Apple, check into Ace Hotel New York and you’ll find a Chromebook waiting in your room. Use it anywhere, in or out of the hotel, with free Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity.

To make your trip even more enjoyable, we’ve also developed two new web apps: The Ace New York Field Guide tips you off on the hottest spots in town, from cool clubs to unique boutiques, and the Beat the Boot game which challenges you to get the highest score possible in the 8 seconds it takes to boot a Chromebook. Plus you can choose from thousands of other web apps in the Chrome Web Store.

Chromebooks arrive this Friday, July 1st at Virgin America and Ace Hotel New York, and are available for the rest of the summer. Get all the details here, and happy travels!

Chromebooks now available for sale

Last month we unveiled the first Chromebooks from our partners, Samsung and Acer. Chromebooks were built and optimized for the web to give you a faster, simpler and more secure experience without the headaches of traditional computers. In the U.S., you can now order a Chromebook from Amazon and BestBuy.com. In other launch countries, visit google.com/chromebook to find a local retailer.

If you’re interested in purchasing Chromebooks for a school or business, please contact our sales team.