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What I learned using only Google products

Mike Elgan | May 27, 2013
Here are 10 shocking things I learned using only a Chromebook Pixel, Nexus 10, Nexus 4 and all-Google software and services.

People think it would be too limiting or confining, but it's far less so than I imagined. I could— I did — easily function using nothing but a Pixel as my main computer.

The Pixel is a great main computer for a wide range of people, from C-level executives to everyday businesspeople who want simplicity above all. And it's a perfect secondary computer for even power users.

2. All-cloud computing is better. I've long been a cloud-computing skeptic, but living in the cloud for three weeks has changed my opinion. Like most users, I've used a mixture of cloud and non-cloud.

Dispensing with the non-cloud activity is liberating and reassuring, knowing that the device can be lost, stolen or broken and work can continue on any other machine without a loss of data.

3. Retina-quality displays are wonderful. After using the Pixel's incredible, 239 pixels-per-inch screen, I will never again buy ordinary pixel densities on any device. My 110 pixels-per-inch MacBook Pro screen looks terrible to me now.

4. Apple makes the best hardware. While the Pixel is higher quality than your average Windows laptop, it's not quite as polished and elegant as Apple laptops like the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

The Nexus 4 is a very nice handset (made by LG), which is light, has a really great screen and other solid attributes, but its build quality is no match for the iPhone. The Nexus is easily the best $300 unlocked phone on the market, though.

And the Nexus 10 tablet (made by Samsung) is nowhere near the iPad in hardware quality.

5. Google Now is amazing. When you really use it as I have for the past three weeks, Google Now feels like the future. It's a constant presence watching out for you and helping you.

6. Android phones could be better than iPhones, but they're not — yet. I never liked using Android phones before this experiment. Compared with iPhones they seemed unpolished, clunky and retrograde. But after my experiment, the iPhone feels that way to me and here's why:

7. The best phone is the one that best delivers Internet services. Let me explain. The thrill of using Google Now voice commands to launch navigation —"Google, navigate home" is all you need to say to launch turn-by-turn directions —launch apps, search the web and do many more things made me realize that the era of hardware and software primacy is over.

In recent years, hardware and software have become more commoditized and less differentiating. What's really important now is services. And there are a few services, such as Now, Search, Maps and others that Google does better than any other company.

 

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