Google Adds New Work Features To Chromebooks

Chris CrumBusiness

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In a push to get more businesses using Chromebooks, Google announced the launch of some new work-related features. These deal with identity, manageability, virtualization, and performance.

There are now single sign-on and multiple sign-in options. The former lets you log in with the same credentials and identity provider you use in the rest of your organization, and uses the SAML standard. It also works with CA SiteMinder, Microsoft AD FS, Okta, Ping Identity, SecureAuth, and SimpleSAMLphp. Multiple sign-in lets you securely switch between work and personal accounts.

"Businesses, schools and government institutions can now easily provision Chromebooks with client certificates to access 802.1X EAP-TLS wireless networks and mutual TLS protected web resources," says product manager Saswat Panigrahi. "Using the Admin Console, IT admins can pre-configure their secure networks, push certificate management extensions and pre-select certificates to be used with certain websites and networks. Partners such as Aruba Networks, Cloudpath Networks and Aerohive Networks have already integrated this functionality."

For management, the Admin Console now lets IT administrators push a list of bookmarks and other settings to signed-in workers on all platforms, including mobile devices.

"We’ve worked with virtualization partners like Citrix and VMware to expand the boundaries of what’s possible on Chromebooks," says Panigrahi. "Recently, Citrix released a new Citrix Receiver optimized for Chromebooks, which provides more direct integration with Chromebooks and enables new features including seamless integration with Google Cloud Print; cut-and-paste between local and virtualized applications; better audio and video playback; improved license and application usage monitoring; and protection from end-to-end SSL connections."

Google recently partnered with Nvidia and VMware to speed the delivery of graphics-heavy virtualized applications to Chromebooks, so 3D-modeling and simulation applications can run.

Finally, Google announced a new pricing option, enabling businesses to get all of this stuff for $50 per device per year. That's available in the U.S. and Canada, with more regions on the way. Additionally, if you lose or replace a Chromebook, you can easily apply your existing license to the new device.

Google will host a Chromebooks for Work Hangout on Air on October 9th.

Image via Google

Chris Crum

Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.