The battle to control the enterprise rages on as Google outlined new features and a $50 annual support plan for Chromebooks used in enterprises. In a blog post on Wednesday, the company explained how and why it thinks Chromebooks are easier to deploy faster and more cheaply, using a real situation as an example:
After an office flood displaced 40 workers from a regional site, Just Eat, a UK-based online food ordering company, found a simple way to work through the disruption. The company delivered dozens of Chromebooks overnight to its headquarters and configured them by the time workers came in the next morning.
[company]Google[/company] is focused on making Chromebook deployments and usage even easier with several new announcements. Single sign-on is one of them; employees can use the same log-in credentials on a Chromebook as they have used in other systems in the past. Switching between work and personal accounts is also now supported.
Google has also worked with a number of hardware partners — Aruba Networks, Cloudpath Networks and Aerohive Networks, to name a few — to provision Chromebooks with client certifications for network authentication. IT organizations can add web apps centrally by pushing bookmarks out to Chromebooks, while Citrix and VMWare have partnered with Google to help provide virtualization options to access full computer apps.
The updated suite of Chromebook management and support tools is now available for a $50 annual fee, and when I checked the Chromebooks for Work page to look at devices, they all showed that the first year’s fee was included with the purchase of a Chromebook. Workers will also get 100 GB of Google Drive storage with a Chromebook. And if employees move to a newer Chrome OS laptop, Google will transport the license from the old to the new device, making it easier to handle laptop swaps and repairs.
[company]Microsoft[/company] is still the boss when it comes to computers in business, and it probably will be for awhile yet. But Google knows that anything that can help reduce support costs and deploy laptops faster is sure to catch enterprise attention.