Google browser targets federal market

Google steps up pressure on Microsoft

Google is subtly increasing pressure on Microsoft with a new release of its Chrome browser. Government employees may now have a new alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer platform: Google has released a new stable version of its browser for Mac and Linux, bringing it out of beta for these two platforms. The browser's latest version for Windows had been released earlier.

The new version comes just weeks after the company released speed enhancements to the beta version of Chrome 5.0, which improved its V8 and SunSpider benchmarks by 30 and 35 percent, respectively.

The new version allows users to synchronize both bookmarks and browser preferences across multiple computers, including themes, Web content settings, preferred languages, page zoom settings, and home page and start-up settings.

Chrome 5.0 also has more HTML5 features, such as geo-location Application Programming Interfaces, Web Sockets, App Cache, and file drag-and-drop. Google extensions users will be able to enable extensions to work in incognito mode through the extensions manager.

Google is pursuing Federal Information Security Management Act certification for its Google Apps suite of cloud-based productivity applications, which the company is positioning as a direct competitor to Microsoft's desktop applications such as Word and Excel.

David Mihalchik, Google’s federal business development manager, noted that over a dozen federal agencies are already using Google Apps, which consists of Gmail, Google Sites, Google Docs and a video tool.

Federal agencies are interested in the cloud-based technology as increased budget pressures, including pressures to cut IT budgets, are pushing them to seek less expensive alternatives to Microsoft’s application suites.

Google Chrome has been increasing its share of the browser market. According to Net Applications, third-ranked Chrome gained 0.6 percent in market share over March, commanding 6.73 percent of web surfers as of end-April.

Existing Chrome users will be automatically updated to Chrome 5.0 soon, but users may download it here now.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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