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Google Is Out to Kill the PC

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Can the new $249 Chromebook substitute for a PC? Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) is working overtime to convince customers that it can. Google is breaking up its productivity suite into distinct apps that run in a Chrome browser and Chrome OS.

Called "Docs," "Sheets," and "Slides," the apps offer word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation tools as self-contained software for download at the Chrome Web Store. PC users will find the meme familiar: Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) makes billions selling Word, Excel, and PowerPoint individually and as part of its Office productivity suite.

The switch means Google is abandoning an earlier design wherein tools and saved work were collected alongside each other in a sort of Web-based hard disk called Google Drive. Yet PC and Mac users are unlikely to notice a difference.

In a regular Chrome browser, the apps act more like bookmarks. But in the Chrome OS, these same bookmarks can be made to appear as buttons in the bottom left of the Chromebook start-up screen, mimicking the experience of using a traditional computer.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home, portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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  • Report this Comment On October 24, 2012, at 1:44 PM, NobodysFool2011 wrote:

    Being as I value my privacy and don't appreciate being tracked, I don't use Chrome, don't use Google for search or any of their services.

    I do use my PC for music and video production. It's highly unlikely artists and professionals such as myself are going to switch from PCs or Macs anytime in the now or in the future.

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