Google's Grab and Go Chromebook Program in Action

April 15, 2019 Graham Cremer

The Google Grab and Go Program is a self-service loaner laptop solution that frees up time-strapped IT teams. It makes laptops available to people where and when they need them fast and hassle-free. 

Understanding the origins of the Chromebook and Grab and Go will help you see why the program is a game-changer.

A brief history

Google introduced the Chromebook in May 2011. Running Chrome OS, a Linux-based operating system, the Chromebook delivered a fast, simple, and low-cost alternative to its Windows-based counterparts. No wonder it didn’t take long for Chromebook to disrupt the mobile computing market space.

In 2013, 1.76 million Chromebooks were shipped through business-to-business channels in the U.S. alone. By 2014, 5.3 million Chromebooks were shipped in both consumer and business channels worldwide, with a steady year-on-year increase, leading to 9 million Chromebooks shipped in 2018 alone. Independent research suggests that global sales are expected to hit 11.5 million units by 2020. 

This growth has been driven by a number of factors:  ease of use, simple setup and maintenance, and the expansion of cloud applications.

Early wins and growth helped Chromebook shake off the initial concerns that it was only for running G Suite applications.

Android apps can now be installed via the Google Play Store and software vendors including Microsoft (Microsoft Office for Chromebook) and Adobe (Photoshop Express and Lightroom) have embraced Chrome OS as a key player. 

You might wonder what this has to do with the enterprise market space. Quite a lot actually. The workplace is and has been going through a fundamental change in the last few years. The desktop is dying thanks to the introduction of work from home policies by many companies, along with a shift from on-premise infrastructure and applications to cloud-based solutions. Coupled with the constant desire to reduce IT expenditure on hardware and licenses, the Chromebook becomes an attractive solution.

Common misconceptions Like many people, you might have concerns that to adopt Chromebooks and to maximize their potential, the following must be true:

  • You need to have G Suite rolled out across your business.
  • You shouldn’t have too many on-premise Windows applications. 

But these points are not necessarily true. The big hitters in the virtual desktop space have thrown their weight behind Google. VMWare provides connectivity through Horizon Client for Chrome Native OS and for Citrix through its XenApp receiver client. Google has added native virtual desktop support to their Chrome OS roadmap in 2018, although when this new feature will be available isn’t confirmed. 

Google Grab and Go Program in Action with How-to Steps

What is the Grab and Go service?

Google launched the Grab and Go service internally to keep their staff productive when their primary work devices were broken. Initially, they handed out loaner devices to staff, but they decided to streamline the process and designed a self-service rack solution that enabled users to walk up and check out a Chromebook without a lengthy IT approval and provisioning process. 

The user’s selected device would be automatically configured to their profile, and the system would associate that loaner device with the user. When the Chromebook was returned, the device automatically deprovisioned, making it immediately available to the next user. 


Typical use cases where Grab and Go provides a compelling solution
Google has now extended this service to customers and provides compelling use cases for loaner devices, temporary staff, thin client replacement, frontline workers, and shared device fleets. 

  1. Companies with a large labor workforce to be trained on an ad hoc basis, but who don’t have their own PCs or laptops. Quite often, the in-house training department needs to quickly set up a classroom space with hardware to conduct training. Grab and Go not only provides hardware for training but also gives these workers access to hardware temporarily. Grab and Go makes Chromebook loans fast with minimal IT involvement, simple setup, and deprovisioning. 
  2. Companies with a mobile workforce who travels frequently and often to countries with dubious data security practices, or where there’s a higher risk of theft. Newscorp, for example, set up Grab and Go facilities for their reporters to take Chromebooks to Russia for the FIFA World Cup. Chromebooks are an inexpensive solution to this challenge and aren't likely to contain sensitive information should they be compromised or stolen.
  3. Internal IT support desks often need to provide loaner machines to users whose laptops’ hardware or software issues require deeper investigation. Typically, IT has to maintain a pool of loaner laptops that require wiping and setup when they’re returned. This support model can be time-consuming and expensive. Grab and  Go saves time and eliminates the need to wipe, set up, or maintain the previously referenced loaner pool. This model makes hardware loans a fast, seamless experience for IT staff and users both. 
  4. Schools and universities are prime candidates to provide Grab and Go solutions to their students. This solution not only makes technology more accessible, but it also levels the playing field for students who don’t own laptops or forget their devices at home. 

Why Appirio?
Appirio has been a strategic Google Partner for seven years and has worked with large enterprises to deliver hardware solutions worldwide, across all verticals. With deep, unmatched experience in Suite and Google Cloud Platform, we provide planning, deployment, and training services for Google’s Grab and Go program and can help you execute yours faster.

Where can I find more info? 
For the latest Google news, trends, and success stories click here

About the Author

Graham Cremer

Graham is a Senior Manager in the Appirio Google Practice, responsible for Google Hardware and Licensing worldwide. In his 20 years in the IT industry, he's never been more excited about the opportunities we have to seamlessly connect to information and people.

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