Google offers 'Grab and Go' laptop programme to businesses

Replacement device scheme can help enterprises save on IT downtime

Google is extending its 'Grab and Go' service to businesses, allowing them to source replacement laptops 24 hours a day from a centralised rack.

With more and more businesses favouring laptops for employees and hot desking proving a popular method of working, there is an increased importance on portability, convenience, and workplace flexibility.

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But Google's scheme targets those times that computers malfunction, aiming to help businesses avoid IT downtime and hampered productivity.

"When laptops remain at home, get left on the other side of the country during a business trip, or take a glass of water to the keyboard, a remedy is needed," said Russ White, Google's IT operations manager and author of a detailed white paper about the programme.

"The quicker that remedy can be actioned, the less time and money is left on the table and the quicker the employee can get back to making amazing things happen."

Google's answer is Grab and Go, which it has already deployed in its offices around the world. According to White, the company has had more than 30,000 people loan out 100,000 devices in the last year. Google estimates that its initial investment in deploying the programme paid for itself in recovered productivity time after only 50 days.

Essentially the initiative is a self-service rack of Google Chromebooks, fully charged, centrally located and available 24 hours a day. As soon as an employee's laptop has an issue, they can grab a new Chromebook from the rack and log in through their corporate account.

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The Grab and Go programme uses Chrome Enterprise to provide simple manageability through a Google Admin Console. Employees can sign in to the Chromebook, where all of their company's systems and tools exist via a VM.

By using Chrome Enterprise, any work left on the faulty laptop is already stored in the cloud, allowing employees to jump back into projects immediately as if they never left their old device. All bookmarks, passwords, extensions, browsing histories, and personal settings are available on the new device thanks to Chrome Sync.

White also said that the programme is an ideal solution for other business cases where employees require temporary access to a device. For example, shift workers in professions where devices are shared, such as healthcare and call centres and those who work remotely and travel between office locations, their homes or even abroad.

It's not clear how Google will roll the service out to businesses yet, whether as something located in enterprises' offices or as hubs situated in locations where businesses express interest in the scheme. Firms can register their interest here.

Picture: Google

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