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Google is launching a new enterprise service for large businesses that want to adopt Chrome OS devices. The new Chrome Enterprise subscription, which will cost $50 per device and year, is essentially a rebrand of Chromebooks for Work, but with a number of additional capabilities. Even though the name would make you think this is about the Chrome browser, this program is actually all about Chrome OS. For Chrome users in the enterprise, Google already offers the Chrome Enterprise Bundle for IT, after all.
For enterprises, the main highlights here is that Chrome Enterprise is fully compatible with their existing on-premise Microsoft Active Directory infrastructure. Google senior director of product management for Android and Chrome for Business and Education Rajen Sheth told me that this has long been a stumbling block for many enterprises that were looking at adopting Chrome OS devices. With this update, enterprise users will be able to use their existing credentials to log into their Chrome OS devices and access their Google Cloud services — and IT admins will be able to manage their access to these devices and services.
It’s worth noting that Chrome OS admins could already enable other services that use the SAML standard to enable single sign-on for Chrome devices.
In addition, businesses will now also be able to manage their Chrome OS devices from the same enterprise mobility management solutions they already use, starting with VMware’s AirWatch. Support for similar services will launch in the future.
With this new licence, IT admins will also be able to set up a managed enterprise app store for their users. This feature is currently in beta and focuses on Chrome OS’s ability to run Android apps, which is currently available on many of the most popular Chrome devices in the enterprise.
Other benefits of the Chrome Enterprise subscription include 24/7 enterprise support, managed OS updates and printer management (you may laugh about this last one, but that’s something that still matters in many offices).
It’s no secret that Google is working hard to get more enterprises to adopt its various cloud-based services. Chromebooks have already found a lucrative niche in verticals like retail and education. To expand its market share, though, features like this new integration with AirWatch were sorely needed.