With Google's new Chrome browser gaining lots of attention, it's inevitable that some businesses will ask whether Chrome is a suitable replacement for their browsers they currently have deployed.

Google claims that Chrome is faster and more secure than Internet Explorer and Firefox, while E-consultancy's own Graham Charlton gave it a test drive and came away with favorable impressions.

But is Chrome ready for deployment at your business? Let's take a look at the considerations.

Chrome is Beta Software

Even though Chrome has been two years in the making, Google still makes it clear that it's beta software.

Businesses need to understand this. Early reports highlight various issues - from web pages that don't work properly to browser-based applications that don't work. This, of course, is all to be expected.

An important consideration - if your business relies on ActiveX applications (which many web-based applications used by businesses do), Chrome is realistically not viable since it does not support ActiveX.

Security Flaws Have Already Been Discovered

It didn't take long for security flaws to be discovered in Chrome. The most recent is extremely serious - it could allow an attacker to take over a user's entire computer.

While no browser is perfect, with the spotlight on Chrome there can be little doubt that hackers and security analysts alike are busy testing it.

The real question is - will Google respond to security flaws quickly enough? Microsoft and Mozilla are no strangers to having to deal with these issues. Will Google show that it's willing to respond as quickly as they usually do?

The Interface Is Different

Training requirements are always a consideration when businesses deploy new software.

In the case of Chrome, there are some significant differences between its interface and those of Internet Explorer and Firefox. While early adopter types will have no problem using Chrome, other users might.

This of course could lead to greater support requests. Therefore businesses need to consider whether deploying Chrome would require additional training and support.

Chrome Currently Lacks Compelling Features for a Business Environment

Initial tests of performance and efficiency show that Chrome may be a faster browser in some areas, but Mozilla is already touting that the next version of Firefox will eliminate any advantage Chrome currently has in terms of JavaScript performance.

In my opinion, Chrome's performance advantage (if one exists) looks fairly marginal for the average business internet user and would not be so great as to justify overlooking the issues above.

In addition, while Chrome does have some interesting features (especially Google Gears for web applications), right now few of these really prove compelling in most business environments. In fact, in some areas it's lacking.

While Chrome may eventually turn out to be an excellent browser worthy of deployment in a business environment, at the current time it is far too early to recommend that businesses look to deploy it in an enterprise environment.

Corporate IT departments should keep an eye on Chrome but until such time as the browser proves stable, secure and offers discernable advantages over existing browsers, I see no legitimate need to deploy Chrome.

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Published 8 September, 2008 by Patrick Oak

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Comments (5)

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Rizwan

I think the key point to consider is that Chrome doesn't actually change or improve the browsing experience in anyway, and as such presents no compelling argument for switching over. I just don't see how Chrome is going to have any impact on the IE audience, and consequently the generic user market as a whole. I suspect that it is the smaller browsers used by the tech savvy, like Firefox, which will suffer a loss of market share to Chrome.

For the mass audience, Google haven't really thought this through too well. The hype means that a lot of people will download it, try it and give it up because it lacks conveniences. Hotmail asks you to upgrade your browser. Facebook's edit and auto update features don't work perfectly, and most importantly it has no toolbar synchronisation so it misses all those conveniences that your average joe is used to. Finally and most crucially, going back to my first point, it doesn't fundamentally change and improve the browsing experience, so why would most people learn a new interface? Some more thoughts on this in my post "The Future is Chrome.. or is it?" (http://urbansurvivalproject.blogspot.com/2008/09/future-is-chrome-or-is-it.html)

One of the reasons I'd be very nervous about using Chrome as my browser is that I just don't believe that my browsing information will not be used to learn more about me as an individual. This is not such a concern with IE or Firefox, because neither Microsoft nor Mozilla's business models are based around targeted advertising, and I'm consequently not quite as worried about them building profiles of me for future reference. The fear may be irrational, but the fact is that many people (particularly non-tech users) and companies will worry about this and I just don't see how Google can counter it in any way.

Regards

Rizwan
(www.multichannelthinking.com)

over 9 years ago

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ForumUser

This post should also reference the forum postings on E-Consultancy:

Google Chrome - what do you think of Google's new browser?
http://www.e-consultancy.com/forum/111685-google-chrome--what-do-you-think-of-google-s-new-browser.html

Many of the postings there pre-date this blog item.

over 9 years ago

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Serviced offices

A full software restructing could see us using Google chrome. I've been using it for a while now and think it will soon become a household name browser. Even my litle ones ask me about GC as they call it. Funny enough it doesn't really make much difference in user's experience, I mean for a novice user;the difference will be insignificant.

I believe we'll see debates going on regularly on this topic for a long time. Note:
Don't get to carried away

over 9 years ago

Ian Tester

Ian Tester, Senior Product Manager at brightsolid online publishing

Actually, it *does* improve the browsing experience in several major ways:

it is (significantly) faster
you can kill tabs individually that normally take out the entire browser
it is easier to find pages and get back to ones you've used recently
it is easy to use

Early adopters will go for all of those in a big way. Others will catch on.

Remember that very few people were using Google 7 years ago (and back then you might have said "it doesn't improve the search experience over Altavista" with some legitimacy).

Users will adopt anything that saves them time and hassle on the internet.

If you use IE, you waste a lot of time and have a lot of hassle (which I why I use use Safari and now Chrome on my PC). Expect Google to start tying up OEM distribution deals soon to get this preloaded onto PCs along with Gears and a bunch of other gubbins.

over 9 years ago

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Mayfair Office Space

Two years had passed and I still think Chrome has a long way to go to be as good as Mozilla or Safari.

almost 8 years ago

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