Google beefs up Chrome OS IT controls

Administrators will have more settings for managing end user settings in areas like web browsing

IT administrators now have more control over the usage of Chrome OS devices in their organizations, with new settings covering areas like Web browsing, cookie acceptance and plug-in management.

IT staffers will find the new controls in the Chrome OS Management Console in the administrator control panel, Google said on Thursday.

At the top of the list of new settings is one that lets administrators determine whether or not they want to give end users the option to proceed to a website they have been warned is potentially malicious.

Several new controls give administrators more power over how to deal with cookies from specific domains, while two new settings focus on managing the use of plug-ins that could be dangerous because they are outdated or have been disabled.

Google first announced Chrome OS in 2009, describing it as an OS built from the ground up for Internet-connected devices running primarily Web applications.

The first Chrome OS computers, commonly referred to as Chromebooks, shipped in 2011 from Samsung and Acer. Those first machines were low-cost, lightweight laptops, but since then desktop models have become available, as well as a high-end, touchscreen laptop from Google called Chromebook Pixel.

Although Chromebooks haven't set the market ablaze, Google officials have pledged to stick with the Chrome OS project, confident that it will carve out a solid niche among Windows, Linux, Mac OS, iOS and Android options.

Google has identified the education market as one that has been particularly receptive to Chromebooks, and the new IT controls announced Thursday would seem particularly useful for administrators in schools and universities.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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Juan Carlos Perez

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