Google has introduced Chromebook Plus, a new certification that’s meant to help shoppers identify high-quality Chromebooks to buy. Much like Intel’s Evo program for Windows PCs, the Chromebook Plus branding will be awarded to laptops that meet a set of minimum requirements. The idea is that even a shopper who’s not familiar with PC specs can see the “Chromebook Plus” label on a product and be assured that Google thinks it’s a good product.
Chromebook Plus devices must have:
There’s an interesting absence here: battery life. In fact, the phrase “battery life” does not appear once in Google’s press release. Curious! I asked Google spokesperson Peter Du about this, and he provided the following statement: “All Chromebooks are required to meet a 10 hours battery life requirement based on internal testing standards. While not a new requirement for Chromebook Plus like the 1080p screen or 8GB of RAM, Chromebook Plus laptops must also adhere to this.”
I mean, I suppose. I’d love to know what these internal testing standards are. Regardless, Chromebooks are generally thought of as portable devices, battery life contributes heavily to a product’s viability as an on-the-go driver, and I have to wonder why it wasn’t any sort of priority here.
Chromebooks that receive the Plus certification will have access to a few exclusive AI-powered features, some (but not most) of which were demo’ed at a press event last week. These include a magic eraser tool in Google Photos (which can automatically remove background elements), improvements to lighting and noise cancelation in video conferencing, and Offline File Sync (which automatically downloads files from Drive onto your device — something I’d be nervous about, considering the sheer volume I have stored on Drive).
More fancy things are on the way, including AI-generated wallpapers that you can create with text prompts and “a personal writing assistant,” which sounds incredibly entertaining. Chromebook Plus products also come with a three-month subscription to Photoshop on the Web and three months of GeForce Now’s priority tier. (RIP Stadia.)
Some of the first devices to be announced include:
Keep an eye out for Chromebook Plus laptops hitting shelves over the next few weeks. (We’ll be reviewing some, as well.)
Photography by Monica Chin / The Verge