Virgin America to offer Google Chromebooks on select flights

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Virgin America has announced that it is teaming up with Google to offer its customers the opportunity to "test-fly" a Google Chromebook for free. From July 1, 2011 to September 30, 2011, Virgin America flyers will be able to check out a Chromebook at their departure airport gate and take the new notebook computer out for a spin onboard select Virgin America flights.

In addition, flyers who check out a Chromebook will receive a free WiFi session onboard Virgin America via the Gogo network so users can open their browser and surf the web at 35,000 feet. Google is letting Virgin American advertise that Chromebooks have an eight-second boot time, which the two companies claim is perfect for "today's connected traveler."

I'm a little surprised that the companies are not using "the cloud" to market this deal. Think about it: Virgin American and Google let you use a cloud computer in the clouds!

"Our goal has always been to use the best in technology to reinvent the travel experience – and help bring some fun back to flying," said Porter Gale, Vice President of Marketing for Virgin America. "As another California company known for connecting people in new ways, Google has been a key partner with us from our very first flights in 2007 – powering the interactive Google maps onboard our Red entertainment platform. We're delighted to team up with Google yet again in a way that keeps our guests entertained and connected – in both the physical and virtual clouds."

Google's Chromebooks went on sale last month in the following seven countries: the US, the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands. Two months ago, Google unveiled Chromebook and Chromebox devices. The first Chromebooks are made by Acer and Samsung.

Google has confirmed it would keep the focus of Chrome OS on notebooks and that there were no plans to merge it with Android. These Chromebooks are the first test for Chrome OS. Google is really hoping its idea of an operating system that is essentially a browser takes off. The company's broader strategy is to have everything on the Web, so it can index it and monetize it with ads.

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