Or, how Google Consumer Surveys probably aren't a product roadmap ...
A story has been making the rounds this week on the idea of a "Chromebook Pro." As we all know, anything that's "Pro" has got to be better than what we already have. Because it's Pro. And so the idea of a Chromebook Pro is intriguing.
Google's second-generation Chromebook Pixel already is as Pro as it currently gets for a Chromebook. Intel Core i7 processor. 16GB of RAM. A couple of USB-C ports. Touchscreen. Glass trackpad. Backlit keyboard. That's pretty damned Pro. And it comes with Pro price tag, at $1,299.
But the prospect of something better? Something even more Pro? That's enough to get any nerd nodding their head.
A Google Chromebook Pro probably isn't a thing just yet.
Here's the thing, however. The idea of the Chromebook Pro comes from a survey that reportedly appeared in the Google Opinion Rewards app, and was passed on via Reddit. The question in question read thusly:
How would you think a Chromebook Pro is different than a Chromebook?
A fine question indeed, and the sort of thing that you might expect to see in Google Opinion Rewards. Or a fan forum. What Google Opinion Rewards is not, however, is a product roadmap.
If you're unfamiliar with Google Opinion Rewards, it's an app that asks you questions about products and businesses. Could be things you bought or are thinking about buying. Could be places you've been, or places you're going. It even throws in a few red herrings, just to keep you honest. In exchange for your time and data (because that's what you're giving it), you get a little bit of credit to spend in the Google Play Store. It's a sweet little system, and a great way to help finance your app habit.
This is a real survey. I know because I made it.
Anyone can submit a survey through Google Consumer Surveys. Click here and give it a shot. You have options to survey the "general population," which is a mix of folks on desktop and mobile, as well as those using the Google Opinion Rewards app. Or you can opt to only survey app users. Or you can get even more specific with "audience panels," wherein you survey specific ethnic groups, or folks on social media, or who use various services.
Unless a specific company outed itself at the start of the survey as the company asking the question (it's doubtful it was Google, and there's nothing in the Reddit thread to suggest that anyway), there's no telling who asked the question. All you need is a credit card and 30 seconds and you can start soliciting responses at 10 cents a pop, too.
Now that doesn't mean the idea of some sort of "Pro" Chromebook isn't a good one. The Pixel, while not inexpensive, has been a fine piece of machinery. And with Android apps coming to Chrome OS later this year (we're currently playing with them on the developer channel on a $250 Chromebook), it's only going to get more interesting. And, yes, Google almost certainly will make another high-end Chromebook at some point.
But an actual Chromebook Pro outed on Google Opinion Rewards? That's highly unlikely.