They also will prompt many to create more coherent online personalities and resource sets so they can use the same computing environment whether they're on a Chromebook, an iPhone or a laptop at the office.
That will help push back the most consistent perverse reality in information technology: that most people don't want to computers, they want to accomplish things.
To accomplish things, they have to learn how to use computers, and then spend time doing it.
That's just operational overhead. Chromebook may help reduce that.
It will not convert the IT universe to total web-centrism, eliminate the need, benefits or problems with local storage of data, and will not bring another wave of excited end users to the cloud to store all their private data and conduct all their business.
They will form a beachhead, however, for devices we'll use more like smartphones with giant keyboards than computers with tiny hard drives.
Chromebook is another wave of the rebellion of smartphones against PCs, not a rebellion of the web against the PC.
Chromebooks are another example that end users need a variety of physical tools to accomplish what they want to accomplish – some have to be small, light and easy to use for voice conversations. Some have to be fast, easy to type with and carrying a big, high-definition screen.
Both end up being niche products among the panoply of devices consumers will use to access the web and do their jobs. "Niche" in that context isn't pejorative, though, because every type of device becomes more equal. They're not all just peripherals to the mighty PC on which users anchor all their computing.
It's not the PC that will go away, just the anchor that prevents us from getting too far away from it.