Google festoons Chrome Enterprise browser with more controls

Because if there's one thing it really needed more of...

Google on Wednesday rolled out additional enterprise browser management features to help IT admins to keep corporate browsing software fit for purpose.

Enterprise browsers, which used to be consumer browsers with some policy controls or a more cautious update cycle, have become a distinct product line in recent years.

This may have something to do with consultancy Gartner's enthusiasm for the idea. "By 2030, enterprise browsers will be the core platform for delivering workforce productivity and security software on managed and unmanaged devices for a seamless hybrid work experience," the analyst house said in a report last year.

Google, mentioned alongside Microsoft as a likely beneficiary of the alleged browser trend (with Apple conspicuously absent), has taken to parroting the Gartner prophecy.

"Research indicates that the number of organizations managing their browser will double in the next two years, and by 2030 we expect to see nearly all enterprises managing their browser," the biz said in a blog post provided to The Register.

The referenced "research" is revealed to be Gartner prognostication via an asterisk that resolves to the bottom of the page.

But the Chocolate Factory is not just retelling the Gartnerian tale, it's betting on it. In April, the biz introduced Chrome Enterprise Premium, a $6 per month upsell from its Chrome Enterprise Core browser that includes malware scanning, URL filtering, data loss prevention, and context-aware access policies.

Chrome Enterprise Core, which is free, is simply Google's Chrome browser with a cloud management tool.

Two months on, Chrome Enterprise has been decorated with more bells and whistles.

The first of these can be characterized as extended policy management. The feature allows admins to push corporate policies to users who sign into profiles on Chrome for iOS, a capability already available on Chrome for Android.

"This works on both unmanaged and managed browsers," Google explains in its post. "On an unmanaged browser, only the profile is managed, offering clear separation between a managed work profile and an user’s personal profile. This is especially useful for common bring-your-own device models for mobile."

Next, there's a new JSON custom configurations option available via the cloud console. The cloud management console already comes with many Chrome Enterprise policy options and now allows any on-premises Group Policy Object to be configured for controlled deployment.

Along similar lines, Google's controls now let admins manage browsers through different groups that reflect the needs of different business divisions, geographies, or roles.

For those new to Chrome Enterprise Core (or Premium), an interactive setup guide has been added in the Google Admin console. Enjoy the quaint menu-driven configuration experience before someone at Google decides that setup should be done with AI.

Chrome Enterprise has also gained crash reports, which may help IT and security teams with troubleshooting. The data is accessible by the "Reporting" section of the admin console.

And finally, Google is providing a new Inactive Browser Deletion Policy, which provides a way to automatically delete inactive browser information from Google servers. You will remember to turn this off when faced with a litigation-related data retention order, right? ®

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