U.S. State Department Making Migration to Google Chrome

Matthew Weinberger

March 5, 2012

2 Min Read
U.S. State Department Making Migration to Google Chrome

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At a recent Town Hall hearing, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded to a question about the state of Microsoft Internet Explorer upgrades with the announcement that State Department employees worldwide would get access to the Google Chrome browser — an announcement that was met with resounding applause. And in a follow-up guest Google Enterprise blog entry, the Department of State’s Chris Bronk lent some insight into the whys and wherefores.

“State’s historical approach to browsers is to test compatibility with all corporate, enterprise-level applications and remediate any issues prior to full release. We’ve taken a different approach with Chrome,” Bronk wrote.

Apparently, Bronk and his team have every intention on quickly rolling out Google Chrome’s many, many iterative updates by way of the Chrome for Business deployment and management platform.  In the two weeks between Chrome becoming available to State Department employees and Bronk’s blog entry, Chrome was installed on 58,000 machines — 60 percent of the State Department’s overall enterprise. The goal is to let these users take advantage of new features and performance boosts as they become available.

Reading between the lines, it’s really obvious why the State Department chose now to make the jump to Google Chrome: With the establishment of FedRAMP in December 2011 making cloud service adoption a more streamlined process for federal agencies, and with Google Apps for Government making headway in the public sector, it seems obvious that the department is looking to future-proof its browser infrastructure — Google spends a lot of time hyping Chrome’s HTML5 and modern web-app readiness.

Combine that with the knowledge that the State Department has been considering a major investment in cloud services for just about a year under the “Cloud First” policy, with an additional $22 million earmarked for the cloud on Valentine’s Day this year, and a picture starts to emerge.

I’m not saying for sure that the Department of State is planning a Google Apps move, but I doubt it would have have gone with Google Chrome if it was pondering, say, Microsoft Office 365. And who knows? Maybe the State Department is looking at eventually going to Google Chromebooks.

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