Chrome Wars: Google is eyeing the corporate desktop

Don't think for a minute that Google is not eyeing the corporate desktop. They have a consumer bent to most of their apps, but a long-term corporate ambition. The latest indication: just try using Internet Explorer 7 to access your Gmail account. A red link appears saying you should upgrade for a faster e-mail experience. To what, you might ask? Why, to the latest Chrome browser. (They also list Firefox, just to be nice with their neighbors across the street in Mountain View.) IE still has a strangle hold on the corporate desktop. In my days working for a Fortune 100, we had a standard desktop that was so rock solid that you had to get a federal warrant to change it. Back then, IE was the only legitimate browser around, which explains why Microsoft dropped the ball on the browser war. I don't see them loosening their grip anytime soon, and IE8 promises to be lean and mean. Google brought Chrome out of beta early, likely to attract companies like Lenovo who might decide to include it on their business-minded machines. Chrome is also seeded to be a best of breed pick since it is blazingly fast and trumps the speed of both IE and Firefox. A browser is one of the first apps that IT might consider as a replacement on the standard desktop, as long as it passes rigorous security testing. Chrome has an advantage in that it has a low enough market share that is it not a target for hackers. Rumblings among some IT folks I know is that IE7 may not be the corporate standard for long. This week, some 10,000 Web sites were found vulnerable to yet another attack, and IT is getting tired of the catch up routine. And what comes after Chrome? G-mail, Documents -- a land-slide of Google Web products, actually. The browser is a foot in the door, and every time IE has a problem, Google gets another toe in.

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