Google Chrome Makes Enterprise Push

A business-friendly version of Google's Chrome browser is ready for prime time, the company announced on its Chromium blog.

Enterprise administrators who want to use Chrome will now find vital features such as an MSI package for offline installation, group policy support, centralized configuration and control over auto-updates. Administrators can preinstall or set up whitelists and blacklists for Chrome extensions, and the enterprise installation also removes any existing versions of Chrome installed by the user.

For businesses that use Web apps supported only by older browsers, such as Internet Explorer 6, Google suggests preinstalling the IETab extension or deploying an Internet Explorer extension called Google Chrome Frame, which uses Chrome's faster Webkit for most websites.

On the downside, there's no phone or e-mail support yet for enterprises using Chrome, but Google says this is coming soon. For now, Google offers online documentation, help forums and a list of frequently asked questions. Also, Google acknowledges that Chrome for enterprise might still have some issues, and encourages administrators to file bug reports. So maybe "prime time" isn't the most apt description.

Chrome's enterprise push comes at an important time for Google. The company is working to launch the first Chrome OS notebooks by mid-2011, and hopes businesses will embrace the cloud operating system. That's unlikely unless businesses get familiar with the Chrome Web browser.

Enterprise support could also give Chrome a big boost in market share. The latest data from NetMarketshare shows that Chrome has 9.26 percent of the market and is steadily gaining.

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