Chrome is not only a very popular browser with mainstream consumers but apparently also with enterprises. Noticing that Chrome adoption in this environment has more than doubled in the last couple of years, Google pushed out a new Chrome Enterprise Bundle, which aims to help IT administrators better manage Chrome in their business.
Google now offers a single installation package for download, which includes Chrome MSI, the Chrome Legacy Browser Support (LBS) extension for running ActiveX widgets when needed and a host of other policy templates for admins. The LBS tool is particularly useful, as it allows administrators to configure the enterprise’s computer so that a legacy browser (aka IE) will load when employees using Chrome click on a link that requires such a browser. When users are done using the app and navigate to other URLs, LBS switches them back to Chrome. Chrome Enterprise Bundle is automatically included for G Suite customers and also provides 24-hour email and call client support. Non-G Suite users can also access the bundle free of charge.
It should be noted that companies can still download for free the standalone Chrome MSI installation package. However, the administrative policy templates that come with the Enterprise Bundle are available separately.
Despite an increase in Chrome adoption within the enterprise environment, Chrome is yet to be officially supported by most organizations, especially large-scale ones where Internet Explorer or Edge continues to be the standard. But by making Chrome easier to mass deploy in organizations, Google hopes more IT administrators will make the switch to its browser.
While the Alphabet owned company said that the number of Chrome enterprise users has doubled over the last couple of years, it did not provide the exact numbers. But if you are curious about the method used to measure enterprise usage, Google explains it accounts for business users by looking at their computer configurations to determine whether the device is joined to an active directory domain or whether Chrome is being managed via deployed policies.
Google latest Chrome version 58 – the one which is included in the Enterprise Bundle – also includes Citrix XenApps visualization support, as well as Windows Server with Terminal services. Google has updated Chrome 58 with GPU acceleration in Citrix environments, roaming profiles and Windows Server auto-detection.
The search giant also announced it will be offering paid enterprise support agreements for Chrome. Additionally, the browser will include support for widely used software-as-service apps such as Office365, Salesforce, Workday, SAP, and Fiori. Many others will soon be added.
The new version also includes 29 security updates, as well as Progressive Web Apps on Android support. It can also block domains that use Cyrillic letters, in a bid to provide an extra layer of security against cyber-attacks in the wake of recent events.
Google said it plans to add more features to its Enterprise Bundle very soon via updates. All these new features will hopefully help Chrome consolidate its position in the enterprise environment which so far has been dominated by Microsoft.