Google Dec. 15 made its Chrome Web browser enterprise friendly, launching a tool that lets IT administrators provision the software to Windows, Mac and Linux computers across a business.
Chrome has more than 120 million users who have downloaded the browser to their personal computers and laptops. Yet Chrome has been largely limited to consumer use for a couple reasons.
First, some admins lock down their corporate desktops and laptops to prevent workers from installing unauthorized Web apps. Second, Google offered no way to deploy the browser across an enterprise the way Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox are provisioned.
To fill that hole, Google has crafted an MSI Installer that lets admins install Chrome for all of their business users using software-deployment tools from BMC Software, Computer Associates and others.
Google also added support for managed group policy to allow admins to customize Chrome settings to manage security and privacy.
Support for the new Chrome admin features is available to Google Apps for Business admins by phone and e-mail. Non-Google Apps admins interested in deploying Chrome are able to view documentation here.
Rajen Sheth, group product manager for Google Enterprise, told eWEEK that Chrome will give companies the security they need to run HTML5 Web applications without requiring expensive software licenses or new hardware.
"As HTML5 takes more and more hold amongst the developer community, more and more enterprise applications will leverage [its] power," Sheth says. "We think that Chrome is an ideal solution because of that. Businesses now have options for browsing the modern Web."
Google has another reason for creating a Chrome-deployment tool: Google is polishing Chrome Operating System, the support system for the Chrome browser and Web apps.
Getting Chrome into enterprise now could very well will help businesses run their important Web applications in the browser, setting Google and its computer maker partners up nicely for moving Chrome OS machines into businesses when they're ready to launch.
These are all important steps as Google seeks to provide that cloud-based operating system alternative to Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac machines in the future.