Thursday 31 March 2011

IE vs Chrome: Drawing the Enterprise Management Battle Lines

I had the pleasure of meeting up with Simon May and Martin Beeby, two Microsoft evangelists earlier this week. Martin handles some of the ISV related issues for IE (particularly IE9) and Simon proselytises for the IT pro side of life.

Their blogs can be found here: 

For Simon, look here:

We discussed a number of topics including IE rendering on Windows 7 mobile (more coming soon on that) and how IE9 compared to Google's Chrome browser in the enterprise.

While I don't want to dive into a full feature comparison between the two browsers, there was a striking difference between the management story for Microsoft IE9 and Chrome.

Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) of course though recently released, already has the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) which is available here: 

Reviewing this kit, we discussed that IE9 integrates into Active Directory (of course) and includes over 1800 configurable settings for IE. Some of the new settings for IE9 include;
  • Disable Browser Geolocation
  • Turn off ability to pin sites
  • Turn on ActiveX Filtering
  • Configure Tracking Protection Lists
  • Tracking Protection Threshold
  • Turn off Tracking Protection

You can find Chromes take on Enterprise readiness positioning or "Ready for Business" blog posting here:

Parsing through this posting, I think that we have to set the "enterprise quality" bar a little higher these days - as "Hey, we now have an MSI Installer for our application" is hardly something to shout about. In addition, whereas IE has over 1800 AD GPO's, Chrome only contains the 56 configurable Active Directory settings. 

This list of Chrome's AD settings can be found here:

More interestingly, and perhaps a little expected is the number of requests for Active Directory policy updates in the Google Issue tracker. The Enterprise Request filter for the Chrome issues list can be found here:

I have filtered a short (and non-exhaustive list) of some of the AD policy requests included in the Chrome issue tracker here: 
  • Need policy to supply predefined bookmarks
  • Customize content of new tab page
  • Add policy for disabling Cloud-Printing.
  • No extra roundtrip after device becomes unmanaged   device_management_policy 
  • Add policy for "click to play"
  • Add a policy to lock full-screen mode
  • Add policy to manage max number of concurrent connections
  • Add a policy to force or disable any importing of data from other browsers on first run
  • Need policy to disable bookmark editor
  • Fine-grained control over content settings.
  • Add policy for controlling displaying the bookmark bar.
  • Add policy to restrict save/open dialogs

Taken as whole list, additional policy requests make up more than 25% of all the enterprise issues for Chrome - so, it seems like other people (the likes of you and me) feel the same way.

Chrome - Get your Active Directory Templates on!

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