So will Google’s Chromebook transform how we think about computers?

My Observer piece about the forthcoming Google netbook.

On 15 June, Google will officially take the next step on its road to global domination. From that day onwards, online shoppers will be able to buy the Google Chromebook, a device that the search giant hopes will change the way we think about computers – and in the process rain on the parades of Apple and Microsoft.

On the face of it, the Chromebook seems an unlikely game-changer. Its first two manifestations – from electronics giants Samsung and Acer – look like any old netbook: thin (0.79in) clamshell design, 12.1in screen, standard-sized keyboard, trackpad. At 3.2lb, it’s not particularly light. The claimed battery life (8.5 hours for the Samsung version) is pretty good, but otherwise the Google machine looks rather conventional.

The surprises start when you hit the on button…