Google’s Chromebook is going places

Just a few short years ago it would have been difficult to find anyone who took Google’s Chromebook seriously. All that has changed, though, as the barebones laptop running Mountain View’s web-centric OS gains share – while the rest of the market shrinks.

According to the NPD Group, Chromebooks have snagged 20 percent to 25 percent of the U.S. market for laptops that cost less than $300, making it the fastest-growing part of the PC industry based on price.

“While we were skeptical initially, I think Chromebooks definitely have found a niche in the marketplace,” Stephen Baker, an analyst at NPD, told Bloomberg. “The entire computing ecosystem is undergoing some radical change, and I think Google has its part in that change.”

Interestingly, Intel, another longtime Microsoft partner, reportedly also has more than 1,000 software engineers who spend at least some of their time working on Chrome OS.

“We’re seeing tremendous growth, without a doubt – massive, massive growth,” said Caesar Sengupta, head of product development for Chromebooks.

Nevertheless, it should be noted that Chromebooks retain a relatively small share of the U.S. market for laptops and netbooks – claiming 4 percent to 5 percent share in the first quarter, up from 1 percent to 2 percent in 2012.