Google this week announced a set of updates for its Chrome web browser that are aimed at speeding its adoption in Microsoft’s key market, the enterprise.
“Chrome is not just for personal use,” Google’s Matt Blumberg explains. “With more than 200 browser management policies, industry-leading security and regularly scheduled updates, Chrome is also built for enterprises.”
I’ve often described Google as Microsoft’s worst nightmare, and this is a great example of why that is so. As Google notes, enterprise usage of Chrome—which is, by far, the most often-used browser among individuals—has doubled over the past two years.
What Google doesn’t say is that this time frame maps neatly to the amount of time in which Windows 10 and Microsoft’s new web browser, Edge, have been in the market as well. And sure enough, Chrome’s growth has come largely at the expense of Microsoft’s browsers. (Usage in Firefox has also grown during this time frame.)
In just the past year, Chrome usage has grown by 10 percentage points, from 49 percent to 59 percent. But usage in IE has fallen from 32 percent to 18.4 percent. And usage in Edge has basically been flat, moving from 5 percent usage to 5.6 percent over this time period.
Of course, that usage is for all customers. What Google is highlighting this week are two new initiatives aimed at driving even more usage in the enterprise: The Chrome enterprise bundle and official support for Citrix and Microsoft virtualized environments.
The Chrome enterprise bundle includes multiple tools in a single download that IT admins need for a simple, managed deployment, Google says. This bundle includes the latest version of the Chrome MSI (a managed installer), the Chrome Legacy Browser Support (LBS) extension, and administrative policy templates.
The LBS extension for Chrome is particularly interesting since it allows IT administrators to configure their employees’ computers so a legacy browser (read: IE) will load when they click a link that requires such a browser. This neatly bypasses any compatibility issues with legacy intranet sites.
The Chrome enterprise bundle is included in G Suite subscriptions, and it provides customers with 24 hour email and call support, Google says. Non-G Suite customers can obtain support for the bundle for a fee.
As for Citrix, the firm’s XenApp virtualized application technology is ubiquitous in the enterprise, and it now officially supports Chrome.
“With official Citrix support for Chrome, we’ve invested heavily in joint product development, engineering, sales, and marketing,” Citrix director Vipin Borkar says. “We are seeing the returns with continued customer success and large-scale adoption, particularly in industries such as retail and healthcare.”
Google is also supporting running virtualized instances of Chrome on Windows Server with Terminal services, the search giant notes.
You can learn more about running Chrome in a virtual environment—XenApp or Windows Server—at the Google Support website.