Google Pushes New Chrome Browser Features to Boost Business Adoption

Google is working to increase Chrome browser adoption inside enterprises by improving management tools.

Google is bumping up the enterprise management tools for its Chrome Web browser as part of an effort to drive Chrome's increased adoption by businesses around the world.

The upgrades were unveiled in an April 16 post by Cyrus Mistry, the senior product manager for Chrome for Business and Education, on the Google Chrome Blog.

"You probably use a browser throughout the day to access useful information, stay connected with people and run Web apps—at work, at home and on the go," wrote Mistry. "However, browser choice at the office may be determined by your company's IT team. Today we're making it easier for companies everywhere to choose Chrome for Business."

Among the new Chrome management capabilities aimed at businesses' IT managers is a cloud-based management capability for Google Apps for Business and Education customers to make it easier for employers to allow their workers to bring in their PCs or devices for work, wrote Mistry.

"Now, whether employees are working from the company's desktop or their personal laptop, they will be able to access default applications, custom themes or a curated app Web store when they sign in to Chrome with their work account. With cloud-based management, IT administrators can customize more than 100 Chrome policies and preferences for their employees from the Google Admin panel," Mistry wrote.

Another improvement is Legacy Browser Support, which IT administrators can configure to automatically launch an alternate browser when a user wants to run a Web app that is built for older browsers and not compatible with Chrome, according to Mistry. "If you want to use Chrome at work but rely on some older apps, you can now switch seamlessly between two browsers.

By using the Legacy Browser Support option, employees on Chrome are automatically switched to a legacy browser when they begin using an older app, wrote Mistry. "IT managers simply define which sites should launch from Chrome into an alternate browser, and then set this Chrome policy for all employees."

The updates are part of Google's continuing effort to attract business users to its Chrome browser and online office productivity products.

"The Web and browser have come a long way in the last 20 years," wrote Mistry. "As Chrome continues to push the boundary of what's possible on the modern Web, these innovations should be available for everyone, everywhere—especially at work."

In March, Google announced faster Chrome browser performance and improved search on Android and iOS tablets and smartphones, as well as new capabilities that allowed users to share pages with friends on social media sites. The new Android version of the Chrome browser was updated with the latest V8 JavaScript engine, which was optimized for mobile and dramatically improved performance.

Chrome users of the iOS version on Apple iPads or iPhones gained new features, including the ability to see their search term in the omnibox (also known as the address bar), instead of the long search URL, as well as the ability to quickly view their tab history by pressing and holding the back button to access any page you previously visited from that tab.

Google unveiled the latest Chrome browser for Android Feb. 27 as part of the Chrome for Android program, which provides a customized version of the popular browser that is built to run specifically on Android devices.

Since this past January, Android users have been able to try out the beta version of the Chrome browser on their devices through the Chrome Android beta program, which gives users access to the beta code before it reached the stable release phase. The capabilities are available for Android developers and other users who are running Android 4.0 or later on their devices.

Chrome for Android was launched in February 2012. The Chrome beta channel gives developers and other users the chance to see and use many features that are in development for the Android version. Users running Windows, Mac and Linux versions of the Chrome browser already have similar access to beta versions as well as to the stable release versions.

Developers don't have to choose to ditch the release version of Chrome to try out the beta channel on their devices. Instead, the beta version can be installed alongside the user's current version of Chrome for Android. The beta version will request additional permissions when using Chrome Sync for the first time.