How I learned to stop worrying and love the Google data bomb
Rest assured, I know all about the dark side of Google. I've had plenty of occasions to criticize Google for everything from the issues you mentioned, to their Google Doodle editorial decisions. That's why I stressed that the Chromebook is a 100% Google device, and if that's a deal-breaker, prospective users should look elsewhere.
I got my Chromebook after looking into some tablet/keyboard combos to get a small, fast-booting portable system, and there are plenty of alternatives - the Asus Transformer tablets get a lot of good press. It's got a keyboard dock that boosts its battery life to something like 15 hours, which is great for writers on the go. I haven't seen a good tablet alternative that comes anywhere near the $250 Chromebook price point, though. A Transformer with keyboard dock will run you almost twice as much.
Personally, I'm comforted by the notion that if Google decides to unleash the data hounds of Big Brother on my Chromebook usage, they'll discover I'm a conservative blogger. And I had about a hundred readers cheerfully tell me they reported me to Obama's Orwellian online dissident tracking operations, like Attack Watch, so it won't be Google that puts me on Dear Leader's radar screen, if I ever wind up there.