Google Chrome: The New Front End to Managed Services?
When I got off a flight Tuesday evening, an email from Nicholas Vossburg, CEO of TechAssist, a managed service provider, awaited me. Vossburg wanted to chat a bit about Google Chrome — the search engine giant’s new Web browser.
If you’re a managed service provider, don’t view Chrome in a vacuum. It’s more than an alternative to Microsoft Internet Explorer, Apple Safari and Firefox (the popular open source browser). Chrome is part of a bigger Google strategy involving software as a service (SaaS), cloud computing and mobility.
Think about these three software platforms for a moment:
- Google is developing Software as a Service (SaaS) applications — Google Apps — that more and more universities and enterprises are testing or deploying.
- Google Android, an open source operating platform for mobile devices, is expected to ship late this year.
- And now Google is developing Chrome, a next-generation Web browser that in some ways could compete with Windows.
I spent early 2008 warning MSPs that they would soon need to support non-PC devices, particularly Windows smart phones and Apple iPhones. Not by coincidence, MSP-oriented software applications like Autotask LiveMobile run on some smart phones, and a growing list of MSPs (such as Azaleos) were way ahead of the curve with iPhone support.
Get to Know Google
Today, I’m strongly recommending that MSPs at least kick the tires on Android, Google Apps and Chrome. Whether used separately or in tandem, the three Google offerings could change the rules of corporate servers, desktops and mobile devices.
Still skeptical? Consider these perspectives:
- TechCrunch, one of my favorite daily reads, considers Chrome to be Google’s Windows Killer.
- Wired calls Chrome “The Secret Project to Crush IE and Remake the Web” (thanks to Vossburg for the link).
- And GigaOm says “Google Browser Puts the Cloud to Work“
Generally speaking, I think most MSPs grew up following — and obeying — Microsoft in the small business software market. It’s time to break with tradition and hedge your bets. Branch out and more aggressively examine new software approaches from Google, open source providers and other companies that aren’t tied to the Windows legacy.
I’m not suggesting that you abandon Microsoft. Nor is Chrome a guaranteed hit. But ignoring Google certainly seems like a foolish strategy at this point for SaaS and managed services pros.