Google just gave Chromebook Plus a reason to exist

OPINION: It hasn’t even been a year since Google launched its Chromebook Plus branding and yet it feels as if more time has passed given just how much the concept has dropped out of general conversation. Luckily for Google, this is about to change.

For the uninitiated, the Chromebook Plus line was launched in October of last year under the concept that it separated a handful of ChromeOS devices from the pack by adhering to a list of minimum spec requirements such as a 1080p webcam and an Intel Core i3 12th Gen/AMD Ryzen 3 7000 series (or above) processor, just to name a few.

There were a small handful of benefits that came with these higher specs, including the availability of Google’s Magic Eraser software in browser, as well as a 25% discount on the ChromeOS version of LumaFusion, but they weren’t exactly enough to give Chromebook Plus laptops a distinct identity. That is, until now.

Google Gemini on Chromebook PlusGoogle Gemini on Chromebook Plus
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

To tie in with Google’s ongoing push to be one of the leading companies in AI, all Chromebook Plus laptops now come with Google Gemini on device and out of the box (with existing models receiving a software update).

For the last few days I’ve been using an Acer Chromebook Plus 515 preloaded with this new software and I’m quite impressed with what I’ve seen – so much so that I’ll likely be staying with team ChromeOS for the foreseeable future.

A new future for Chromebook Plus?

Before I get ahead of myself, I will admit that I am still sceptical of AI. As a journalist who works exclusively in online media, Google’s plans to offer up AI-led search results and bury articles like the one you’re reading right now doesn’t leave me with a great deal of optimism. However, in the realm of speeding up your workflow and offering advice on how to tackle various tasks, AI has a ton of potential.

For instance, over the weekend I sought to put a plan together for how I might optimise my spare time to build a YouTube channel with a sustainable schedule to boot. Not only was Google Gemini able to offer up a week-by-week timeline for how to realistically get that done, but it was also able to provide me with a list of YouTube channels tackling the same niche that I’m interested in so that I could learn from the work that’s already out there.

That’s huge, and if you’re working alone it’s almost like having a second person in the room to bounce ideas off of.

Just like what’s possible with Galaxy AI, Chromebook Plus devices are also getting the ability to make AI-generated wallpapers using a handful of pre-selected prompts. It’s not quite as boundless in the way that Google Gemini is, but it has been fun to play around with.

To sweeten the deal even further however, Google is now offering 12 months of its AI Premium Plan for free to Chromebook Plus users, until the end of the year. This plan includes access to Gemini Advanced which, on top of some pretty impressive coding chops, can summarise documents for you and even work within a handful of Google apps such as Docs and Gmail, to give you more contextual assistance.

When you pair all of that together, on top of the benefits that Chromebooks already tout including excellent battery life and speedy performance, it feels as if Google is finally on to something with the Chromebook Plus range.

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