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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.

Mobile technology is like language. You learn it best through total immersion.

As a former Windows and current Apple user, I wanted to understand the full Google platform experience firsthand. So I went all-in.

Sure, I've used Android devices and even a Chromebook casually before. But I never tried to rely on them full time.

Boy, did I learn a lot about Google (and Apple). And my opinions on many things have changed. I'm going to tell you the 10 shocking things I learned and how my mobile computing buying and usage have been transformed.

The experiment
When I started, I packed away my MacBook Pro, iPad and iPhone and used a Chromebook Pixel, Nexus 10 and Nexus 4 exclusively, which at my request Google loaned to me for the duration.

I initially intended to do the full diet for a month, but I dropped and broke the Nexus 4 a few days ago. So it turned into a three-week experiment.

I switched from Evernote to Keep for notes, from Apple's Pages to Google Docs for writing, from Dropbox to Google Drive for cloudstorage, from Mailbox to the Gmail app for email, from a variety of Mac photo-editing applications to Google+ for photo editing, and from a wide range of apps on the iPhone and iPad to versions made by Google.

I was already a primary user but became an exclusive user of Gmail, Search, Google+, Calendar, YouTube, Latitude, Alerts, Chrome, Voice, Now, Hangouts and (with sadness) Reader, Google's RSS reader that will be discontinued July 1.

Within my experiment, I also embarked on a Google Now diet —everything you can do with Now I forced myself to do with Now instead of alternatives —actions like launching Apps on the phone, getting navigation, getting the weather, searching the web and so on.

The 10 shocking things I learned using Google exclusively
1. The Chromebook Pixel is a joy to use. The Pixel both boots and shuts down in a couple of seconds. Everything is in the cloud, so there's nothing to manage or configure or hunt down.

The screen, keyboard, touchpad, sound system and clamshell build are all very good. Still, the Pixel is generally slower and less polished than using a MacBook Pro. Performance is determined to a much larger extent by bandwidth speed.


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