Google Going Public With ‘Grab and Go’ Chromebook Loaner Program

A new Google program allows corporate computer users who experience sudden device failures to quickly borrow a Chromebook to they can get back to work.

Chromebooks Run Office

Google has launched a new effort to help enterprises implement a program similar to one the company is using internally that allows employees to quickly borrow a Chromebook in case their primary device stops working or isn't immediately available. 

Google says more than 30,000 employees have used its 'Grab and Go' program to loan out 100,000 systems in just over a year,  saving the company a bundle in employee productivity time. 

Buoyed by that success, Google has decided to offer a turnkey service that enterprises can use to deploy Grab and Go programs within their own environments, said Russ White, IT operations manager in a blog July 17. The company has launched an early access program for organizations interested in getting started as soon as possible. 

"With this early access program, IT admins will have all the resources required to start their own Grab and Go program—including an open source app for inventory management, a Chrome OS companion app that greets users upon sign-in, and a full deployment guide," White noted. 

Google officials say the Grab and Go program is designed to ensure that employees experience minimal disruption if something goes wrong with the device the normally use daily. With Grab and Go, employees who experience a device failure can simply go to a self-service station stocked with fully charged Chromebooks and borrow one for their immediate use. 

The devices allow employees to log in via their corporate account and access all of the applications, websites and services that they normally access. Because all work is stored in the cloud, employees are able to get right back to whatever they might have been working on before their primary device failed. 

That includes having access to all of their usual bookmarks, browsing histories, passwords and personal settings, White said. Another important factor is that when an employee signs into a borrowed Chromebook, all of Google's required management polices are immediately applied ensuring that the device is fully secured when in use. 

Google has set up Grab and Go so that a user who borrows a Chromebook gets an email upon initial sign-in with instructions on how and when to return the device or extend its use. Once returned, the device is immediately available to the next user that might need a device temporarily. Because all individual user profiles are encrypted by default and all files are stored in the cloud, there is no need to clean or reset the device. 

Grab and Go has allowed Google to substantially decrease the time employees typically lose when dealing with a failed device, from hours and days to just a few minutes. White said. 

Besides helping employees who might have temporarily lost access to their primary workplace device, the program is also useful in situations where an employee might need a device only for a short period of time—such as for training, White said. 

People working in shifts at hospitals or in call centers as well as workers traveling between corporate branch offices or that frequently work outside the office can also benefit from a program similar to Grab and Go, he said. 

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.