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Google Targets Larger Businesses With Cloud-Based Chrome Enterprise OS

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Google adds security, management and off-premise features to Chrome Enterprise

Google is offering a version of its cloud-based Chrome operating system for the enterprise, complete with a range of advanced features and management options, in a bid to accelerate adoption in the workplace. 

Chromebooks have managed to gain popularity in sectors such as education and advances in technology and culture mean the cloud-based nature of Chrome OS is becoming more feasible in a business environment. 

However Chrome OS has lacked many of the capabilities that larger businesses used to Windows and mobile platforms require. 

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Chrome Enterprise 

“Since we launched Chrome OS in 2009, our goal has been to build the simplest, fastest, and most secure operating system possible,” said David Karam, Chrome Enterprise product manager. “And we’ve been inspired by all the ways we’ve seen businesses embrace Chrome, from Chromebooks in the office, to shared Chrome devices in the field, to signage and kiosks for customer engagement in retail.  

“But with so many different business needs—not to mention so many different devices—companies have also told us they want a single, cost-effective solution that gives them the flexibility and control to keep their employees connected.” 

Chrome Enterprise is fully compatible with Microsoft Active Directory, allowing businesses to use existing on-premise identity and management systems across multiple devices while also giving admins a single console to manage user and device policies. 

Support for VMware Workspace ONE is also on board – the first third party management platform ever to work with Chrome OS – allowing for customised policies based on device, office and role, as well as automated rollout of applications from the cloud, web, Android and Windows virtual machines. 

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The ability to run full virtualised Windows desktops and applications is essential if the workplace is to fully embrace Chrome. 

Other features include printer management, support for managed networks and proxies, theft prevention and the beta version of managed Google Play. Indeed, Google Play is available on more than 25 Chrome devices and Google says it is working on making it available on enterprise class laptops from the likes of Lenovo, Asus, HP and Samsung. 

Many questioned the point of Chrome OS when it debuted eight years ago, but advances in connectivity, competitively priced devices and a shift to the cloud have meant the platform has gone strength to strength. 

This has attracted the attention of Microsoft, which has noted Chrome’s success in education, which repurposed Windows RT as Windows 10 Cloud earlier this year. 

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