Google's new browser Chrome extensively this week. But as we near the end of the week, one of the questions yet to be answered is how Chrome will fare in the enterprise. As we all know Google is making a strong push into the enterprise with Google Apps, which received a further boost this week with the launch of Google Video for Business. However, there is a lot of work needed to get Chrome ready for the office. Already our readers have noticed compatibility and usability issues that will hamper enterprise adoption.We've covered the launch of
A RWW reader emailed us today, after trying out Chrome in his office environment:
"so far my attempts to use Google chrome at work have been unsuccessfull. I downloaded and installed OK, and seems to work fine for personal browsing. When I tried to use for my work tools it's useless
1) Can't logon to the VPN which uses a Cisco token that needs ActiveX.
2) Can't log onto my quoting tool. Seems to accept the password but won't load the page.
I also couldn't work out how to get chrome to allow popups on certain sites as my quoting tool opens new pages automatically.
It seems faster than firefox for plain browsing, but google has some work to do to get usable in corporate environment."
The lack of ActiveX support is hardly surprising, given that it's a Microsoft standard for Windows applications. It's supported of course by IE, but can't be used for Firefox 2.0 and later (a plug-in provided partial ActiveX support for Firefox 1.5 and earlier versions).
This is an issue for Google because ActiveX is used a lot in enterprises and in some countries it is almost a requirement. In Korea, as TechnoKimchi notes, ActiveX powers most Web applications because it's all but required by law:
"Many Korean web sites, ranging from internet banking sites to TV livecasting sites, mandate users to install Active X components (a small bit of extension program used by Microsoft Internet Explorer web browser) to use the service."
There's also the issue of slow enterprise adoption of new software, particularly Internet software. This was the consensus of a "bevy of analysts" that InformationWeek spoke to. However that article also points out that "if Chrome's multiprocess architecture pays off and makes Chrome demonstrably more secure than the competition, companies will have a strong incentive to take Chrome seriously."
Google is certainly aiming just as much at the enterprise as the consumer world with Chrome. Earlier today Matthew Glotzbach of Google Enterprise mentioned Chrome in his keynote speech at the Office 2.0 conference, noting that it will be used to run fast, secure and stable web apps. And security is one of the main features of any enterprise web app, so Chrome will be targeting adoption in the enterprise based on this.
Security is important in enterprise, but so is compatibility with existing apps in an organization and overall usability. As our alert reader noted, the lack of ActiveX support will create problems in the enterprise and there are other usability issues that will occur (such as the password entry and popup problems our reader experienced). Some of this can be put down to Chrome being very new, but they're issues that Chrome will need to tackle if it wants to be used in the office.
Tell us in the comments if you've been testing Chrome within your workplace - and if so what your experience has been like so far.