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Bill Nye says people are afraid to switch to Chromebooks in new ad

What you need to know

  • Bill Nye compares Chromebooks to Windows laptops in a new ad.
  • The ad implies that Windows laptops are slow, freeze, and have viruses, compared to Chromebooks that do not.
  • Several of the claims are questionable when given context.

A new ad comparing Chromebooks to Windows laptops features Bill Nye "The Science Guy" breaking down the science of fear. The commercial claims that users are afraid to switch away from Windows machines and tries to convince people to overcome their fears (via ZDNet). It also makes claims about Windows laptops, stating that they are slow to boot up. It also implies that Windows devices are more prone to viruses by pointing out that Chromebooks have built-in virus protection.

It's not rare for companies to make ads specifically comparing a product to a competitor's device. This Chromebook ad never specifically mentions Windows, but it's clearly referring to it. The license plate of Nye's busted up car that's slow to start and prone to freezing is "WNDWS." Recently, Microsoft released a Surface commercial in which a person named Mac Book recommends a Surface over a MacBook. It's a fairly common tactic among advertisers. Microsoft has also taken jabs at Google in the past.

This ad has some questionable points, however. Nye states in the commercial that "one [while pointing to the Chromebook] has built-in virus protection... The other [while pointing to the Windows laptop] should be quarantined." Windows laptops come with Windows Defender, which recently received a perfect score in all three categories in an AV Test. It's also worth questioning if people are afraid of switching or just prefer to use what they like using.

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Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

46 Comments
  • Bill, you not making enough money? You had to sell out to Google?
  • Also sad he is selling out against his home town company. I miss the Almost Live Bill Nye.
  • I wonder what Nye lost money on recently because he sure does seem to be hauking a lot of stuff.
  • "Several of the claims are questionable given context." So, par for the course for Bill Nye then?
  • I have one chromebook and it´s great!
  • I like Bill Nye. Too bad he is letting financial gain over shadow science.
  • One of my favourite 3 things to do: get science lessons from Bill Nye. The other two are to get fitness advice from "influencers" and news from CNN.
  • Was Fox News not available for you to use in that jab?
  • #Triggered Lol /20chars
  • What is the point of this article? Its just an ad. Why is Windows Central taking it personally. As for the "questionable" claims its true that Windows has Defender but its also true that Windows gets a lot more viruses even with Defender installed (go do a check on a grandparents computer with a third party virus scan) I think that was the point. And windows laptops that cost the same as a chromebook ($300-$500) are a lot slower to load.
  • Funny thing is my own laptop boots up in about 15 seconds and I can then use all my old apps games and tools to get by in my day to day life. Can a chrome book do that? This is the issue with all new and older os systems like Linux, MacOS ect is that it dose not have the support windows has its the same as other mobile os's outside of android and apple.
  • Chromebooks are disposable electronic devices (think scientific calculator with a web browser) in comparison to what a really OS can do. OK, for some people, but not for me.
  • It's an ad that's going to be the center of discussion about Chromebooks and Windows laptops.
  • Hahahaha. My daughter just finished her first year at high school. On her opening day, the school encouraged parents to buy Chrome books through the school. I obviously didn't for my daughter. But for my daughter's friends that did, they all returned them to the school within 2 weeks. Either not working, or the kids and parents absolutely hated them. They are terrible devices. Absolutely terrible. I've never met anyone that has enjoyed using one.
  • Well, I enjoy mine. I'm 80% a windows guy, Surfaces (more than one), desktops, other laptops. I also have a MacBook. Now, my Chromebook is a Pixel, so not cheap, great hardware. I find it fun to use. It is wonderful for certain things, web browsing (Chrome is the defacto standard after all, on Windows and MacOS), video, basic mail. The Android MS Office apps are plenty for many. Nothing wrong with Chrome OS, or Chromebooksas long as you understand what they are and their capabilities. Same way a sedan is not better than a station wagon, for some things. They are different. We should all learn to celebrate difference ;) That said, I darn sure wouldn't suggest one for a High School student.
  • Never. A student might want to take a computer science class or an art class or whatever. A computer should enable and support choice, not limit it.
  • My mom has a Chromebase and it's perfect for her. But all she needs is a gussied-up browser. People who have not been retired for many years probably need something more than a gussied-up browser. I imagine that includes high school students who are serious about trying to get the jobs of the future.
  • Good choice. Just ask yourself. Would any enterprises (including Google) hire freshmen who know only Chromebook, with big money? If you are a writer or want to become a writer, or, maybe all you do is news reading and online video watching, sure, Chromebook is fine.
    But other things? What are you gonna make with a Chromebook? Music? 2d, 3d arts? Law practice? Business, international business? How do you communicate with different departments and other business entities? How do you connect with all those USB peripherals & controllers?
    Make games? Havok, Unreal, VisualStudio, Unity? Connect to a dev kit? You cannot even make a phone app. Company A~Z use Windows, and you want to start a business with employees using only Chromebook?
    How do you share gDoc files internally / externally if somehow your internet is down?
    What happens if your meeting room booking system and other business related system are all on the cloud, and you cannot reach it somehow? (Well, it's possible, Cisco had a downtime for nearly 2 weeks. And data were broken after the recovery)
  • Ha, he's no scientist, and knows nothing about computers either by the looks, thanks for the laugh though bill, have you tried stand up comedy?
  • wow... almost everything he claimed about chromebooks is also true of windows laptops. And yet windows laptops can do so much more. That commercial doesn't make me want to switch.
  • I've had my Windows laptop for over a year. It boots in less than 10 seconds from the lock screen. I've also never had viruses, because I don't visit shady websites and pay for all of my entertainment.
  • I had lost all respect for Bill Nye long before this ad showed up. And seeing this ad would only push me to AVOID Chromebooks going forward.
  • Your loss. I never thought I'd switch from Windows. This little $300 machine is the best, most hassle free, fastest tech purchase I've made in years. I'll never go back.
  • My kids have chormebooks from school. The are dumb and not for real work. You must not do real work with yours.
  • I like Bill Nye a lot. He's a former aeronautical engineer who was smart enough to teach one of my college physics classes as a guest lecturer for one lesson. (It was the third class in the intro stream, the hardest one.) But Chromebooks? Idunno man.
  • Does anyone believe anything he says anymore?
  • Does anyone believe advertising, regardless of who's saying it?
  • Hey, Apple ads resonated my philosophy of life and what to buy
  • Amazing what people can get to say when they fill their pockets with money. This is pathetic.
  • Hey Google, Maybe people are afraid of you, more than they are Microsoft.
    Don't be evil and all that...
  • My wife and I live near the airport with our dog the little general. He is in charge so we call him the little general. It's hot an um tored after washing my truck. Let's eat for the weather is hot but might rain. I don't know I might be online now so we are into that too. An theres some time when theys too many channelson the tv and im gonna get a bigger one too.
  • So now Nye is using his alleged science talent to be a "pitchman for Chromebooks", just follow the money $$$ trail, right science guy?
  • This is sad on so many levels. I'm more afraid of Google, not a Chromebook.
  • Windows is more useful when it comes to well everything but if I am looking for a cheap $300 or less computer at Walmart to **** post on Reddit I am getting the Chromebook.
  • I find these adverts strange because in the UK adverts aren't allowed to make direct comparisons to rival products. They have to advertise their strengths and not say "Get our product cos the alternative is ****"
  • Having moved to the US, that was a big shock, they don't seem to have to tell the truth either :-) But nothing compared to the adverts for drugs and the long list of warnings about side affects, I've learnt to ignore advertising and read a lot of reviews - which you often can't trust either.
  • Think of it as entertainment. I like to listen to the side effects to see if what the drug is intended to cure is also one of the side affects.
  • I wonder if anyone here in this comment field would have said no the the money Bill probably was offered to do this. My guess everyone ******** here would have said yes and praised Chromebooks. I would even if I never used one and is not planning to use one.
  • I wonder if anyone would have had the same response if Bill Nye had taken a job advertising Microsoft products.
  • Advertising is glossing over the flaws and finding some clever way to point out a feature. Microsoft's Mac Book ad is actually more creative in that it features a regular guy and his name to make its point about the Surface while Google just goes for the standard celebrity angle. It also concerns me how much Bill Nye has just allowed himself to become a celebrity. He started on a Seattle comedy show, but I guess he found celebrity more lucrative in his old age than his earlier career to be taken seriously as a science explainer (he is not a scientist).
  • My Surface Pro boots just fine and fairly quick. Windows 10 has a built in anti virus and it works pretty good. I also use SUPERAntiSpyware.
  • Bill Nye the science Lie.
  • I'm afraid because I want to be able to run all of my software?
  • If Bill is a real Scientist he does not use a chrome book in his daily life. I bet he has a widows PC or Mac to do his work. This is just a sell-out commercial. I bet he doesn't even own a Chromebook.
  • I'm not afraid. They just suck and have little use outside of browsing the web. Dont need a laptop to run Android Apps, which aren't that good. I can get an iPad for cheaper prices than a decent Chromebook.
  • Both of these platforms are riddled with spyware. Try Ubuntu or TrueOS instead. (Reference links censored by Windows Central) cnet*com/news/nsa-top-lawyer-says-tech-giants-knew-about-data-collection/
    dailydot*com/news/microsoft-skype-skydrive-prism/ digitaltrends*com/mobile/google-tracks-your-location-even-with-location-history-turned-off/
    theverge*com/2018/8/13/17684660/google-turn-off-location-history-data
    brave*com/google-gdpr-workaround/