Going corporate: Chrome getting admin-friendly

Google is building lock-down options and tools to make Chrome get along better with the administrators responsible for their company's software.

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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  • Shankland covered the tech industry for more than 25 years and was a science writer for five years before that. He has deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and more.
Stephen Shankland
2 min read

Chrome, like Android, got its start as a technology geared for individuals, not companies. And just as Google updated Android with features such as Microsoft Exchange support, Chrome is being refashioned for a broader world of corporate use.

The results of the work can be seen at Google's Chrome administrative information site. The site includes quick-start guides for administrators, policy templates for setting group permissions, and a list of tweakable settings that can be enforced through policies.

For example, administrators can use the settings to prohibit use of particular plug-ins, set the home page, disable synchronization services, and set the interval for checking Chrome's automated update service. That includes halting automatic updates altogether.

Chrome has caught on among early adopters and has tens of millions of users. Getting corporate buy-in could help the browser's prospects, and with it Google's ambition to make the Web a more powerful foundation for applications rather than just Web pages to visit.

It took years for Firefox to attain some legitimacy among corporations, but Chrome in some ways could have an easier time. With Firefox, Mozilla helped fight for the idea that Web pages should be built to conform to various Web standards rather than to just work on the dominant browser, Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

That message caught on, with the upcoming IE9 aggressively embracing many of those standards. For Google, it means it's easier for a new browser to catch on since compatibility issues are less troublesome.

Even with easier compatibility, though, corporate IT personnel are not known for their enthusiasm for embracing new software. They're often naturally conservative, since change can break internal applications, confuse users, and bring other complications. Letting administrators set Chrome behavior will, though, make it more palatable.