Chrome Enables Browsing for U.S. State Department

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2012-03-05 Print this article Print

Google's Chrome browser adoption can be counted in the 200-plus million download range, but it helps to have big organizations embrace the browser.

This is super challenging at a time Microsoft Internet Explorer remains the de facto browser for the Windows PCs that orgs and businesses buy.

To wit, Google scored a coup with Chrome when the U.S. State Department, responsible for international relations and diplomacy, greenlit Chrome for its employees last month. It's the first U.S. cabinet to enable Chrome across its entire department.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the announcement Feb. 14 that her agency would allow Chrome to a smattering of cheers from State employees.

Why are we hearing about this two-plus weeks later? Well, allowing Chrome is one thing. Getting people to use the browser is quite another.

It wouldn't do for the State Department to enable the browser, only to have people remain with IE or anything else.

Two weeks in, the results are pretty good: Some 58,000-plus workers in the cabinet, or 60 percent of the enterprise, downloaded Chrome worldwide. I'd say Chrome has a solid reputation at this point.

Indeed, it also seems the department is embracing Google's easy upgrade cycle. While the department previously tested browser compatibility with business apps before launching agency-wide, the group noted:

Offering Chrome as a browser option allows us to take full advantage of Chrome's speed--from quick start up to rapid Website loading--plus the ability to access the full range of modern Websites, and will allow our employees to be more productive in their work. When a new release of Chrome is made available with enhanced functionality or added security, we can release it into production immediately, bypassing cumbersome testing.

I'm quite sure that approach won't work for, say, the National Security Agency, but this department gets to sit back and relax while Google pushes out upgrades over the cloud.

Now, if Google can only transform those Chrome browser users to Chromebook users, the search giant could start a nice enterprise business.

I'm skeptical of this, though it's not because I think Chromebooks are bum machines; it's that big companies have been slow enough to embrace Google Apps in the cloud five years in.

Chromebooks aren't challenged by hardware, but by fair-to-middling cloud computing traction. People are going to the cloud, just not as fast as they could. These things take time. |

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