Why CIOs aren't on the Chrome straight

Analysis: The hurdles ahead for Google's vision

Analysis: The hurdles ahead for Google's vision

Google's recently launched web browser, Chrome, will have to overcome a number of major obstacles before it can break the business ubiquity of Internet Explorer and counter the rise of Firefox.

Chrome is the latest product in Google's reasonably successful attempt to expand into the business software and services market and it's clear that some CIOs have already had their heads turned by Chrome.

Ben Acheson, IT Manager, PADS Printing and Commercial Stationery, considers Chrome to be the "future of web browsing" and is already testing it within the business.

Acheson also praises Chrome's "fantastic new features", such as tabs operating independently, so if one crashes it doesn't take the others with it.

"Whether we like it or not, Google is the gateway to the web for most people. They also have a good track record of bundling their other products - such as the Google toolbar - in with all sorts of other software, leading to high take-up," he added.

Peter Pedersen, CTO of clothes retailer figleaves.com, is also keen on Chrome, saying tests carried out within the business have been good with Chrome proving "far more friendly on the PC memory than IE".

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But it seems while a few hearts are being stolen by Chrome, most CIOs are being ruled by their head. While they can see the benefits of Chrome, many feel making it the default option for their business could be more trouble than it's worth.

As a recent CIO Jury, in which 10 out of the 12 respondents said they're not testing the Google browser, suggested the extent of Microsoft ubiquity in most organisations could be the biggest problem.

Iain Hepburn, IT Director at law firm, Clarke Willmott, said: "We use [Microsoft Office SharePoint Server] and extensive other Microsoft applications and development tools so we pretty much live in a MS world and have to use IE to get full functionality."

But Hepburn added he will be "watching with interest" as to whether the competition that Chrome provides will push Microsoft to raise their game with the release of IE8.

Director of technology at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International, Graham Yellowley, said: "There will have to be a big inroad into Microsoft's ...

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... market share and advantages to using Chrome to initiate a switch."

Nic Evans, European IT director, Key Equipment Finance, raised the same problem, saying that too many of his company's business applications are only certified for use with IE, meaning it will be a while before any alternative is considered.

It's not just the Microsoft effect that's putting CIOs off Chrome.

Nicholas Bellenberg, IT director for publisher Hachette Filipacchi UK, said his company won't be moving to Chrome as it's not yet compatible with Linux and Mac operating systems.

Unlike many businesses Hachette Filipacchi is not being stopped by any attachment to Microsoft, as Firefox is already its browser of choice.

For Andrew Jackson, head of IT at B2B media group, Huveaux, stability is also proving an issue in Chrome adoption.

"We're still concerned about the technology involved as it's become apparent that even if, as Google claim, the tabs run in separate memory space, there are still vulnerabilities that can crash all of the browser sessions at once," he said.

Jackson added Google should have provided more support to web development teams to allow them to deal with the impact of the new browser more easily.

For other organisations, the security of Chrome is a concern. Andrew Watson, British Transport Police CIO, said: "We are not testing Chrome - partly because the internet is such a potential security risk, we would take our steer off of CESG [the government agency which approves public sector tech]about its suitability for use in secure government environments."

It seems Chrome's lustre is not enough for businesses who have to consider a range of issues that the browser doesn't yet cater for before making such a fundamental technology switch.