Google’s products and services are spread across a wide array. While the general users are well and truly aware of the likes of Gmail, Drive, and Docs, there are some others that are especially focused on the business domain and not well documented among the everyday users. And Chrome Enterprise falls in that segment.
As an upgrade to the Chrome OS, it is focused on providing business solutions to enterprises and industries. At the same time, it neatly integrates all its services under one, thereby making it easier for its browser, OS, and devices to function in a well-knit environment. So how is it different from the Chrome browser that is installed on our PC or smartphones?
Well, both the browsers have their fundamentals the same, the major differentiating factor being the fact that the Enterprise edition is named so because it is installed on Chrome Enterprise whereas the general Chrome browser retains its original name.
This statement from Google in its Enterprise Help Page should further clarify our above statement: “The Chrome Browser for the enterprise (sometimes referred to as Chrome Enterprise) is the same Chrome Browser used by consumers.”
But that’s not it. Apart from this naming convention, there are still a few differences in both these browsers that we would like to draw your attention towards. So without further ado, let’s get started with the comparison between Chrome vs Chrome Enterprise.
One of the best yardsticks of understanding an offering is by having a look at their feature set. So before digging deep into their technical aspects, let’s check out what each of these browsers has in store for us.
Chrome browser has often been regarded as the best web browser present around, The reason for the same is the plethora of features that it provides. These include the likes of Bookmark Management, Sync and Cross-device support, Tab Managements, Built-in Password Manager, a huge collection of third-party add-ons and extensions, among others.
When it comes to the Chrome Enterprise edition, it has all the aforementioned features baked in. But on top of that, it has also benefited from the fact that it runs in the Enterprise environment and hence is able to incorporate some of its features as well. For example, access to enterprise apps and the integration of cloud management software are a boon to businesses.
Well, one cannot really comment about the winner in such a scenario. For businesses, Chrome Enterprise is hands down the go-to choice. And for the general users, the normal Chrome browser is more than enough to meet their daily requirements.
The deployment of an app or software helps us in understanding how it could be efficiently handled and managed in the long run.
There are not many technicalities involved when it comes to the normal Chrome browser. You just need to download the setup, proceed with the on-screen instructions and install it on your preferred location. You could then customize it as per your liking so that it falls in line with your prerequisites.
However, things aren’t that much simpler in the Enterprise field. The installation of the Chrome Enterprise Bundle is generally done by the Network or IT Administrators. They in turn have the responsibility to make sure that all the corporate PCs are running the same build and that they have been closely integrated under one common ecosystem.
The Chrome Enterprise Edition calls for a lot of effort in setting it up as compared with the normal Chrome Browser. However, it isn’t its shortcoming since it is being deployed on a large-scale basis and not on a single PC.
Getting to know if a software is working on a user level or has encapsulated the entire system will help in understanding its working mechanism and the permissions set that it asks for.
The normal Chrome browser is installed on a user-level basis. As a result, the changes made in Chrome for one user profile wouldn’t have any effect on the other users who are using the same PC. Furthermore, you could even use different instances of the browser on a single setup by installing its different builds in the form of Beta, Dev, and Canary versions.
Chrome’s Enterprise build is installed by the IT admins via its MSI installation file and is deployed on the system level. As a result, all the users who are working in an organization would have the same instance of the browser. This makes the job easy for the network administrator to effectively manage the various rules and policies that they are planning to implement.
It’s a win-win scenario for both parties involved. On one hand, the ability to install different Chrome builds on a single PC gives the user more options to choose from. On the other hand, the fact that only one version of the browser could be installed in the Enterprise Edition allows for a streamlined and synced workflow for organizations.
While Windows is the most popular OS, it isn’t the only one out there. A large chunk of users is engrossed in the Apple ecosystem via Mac while some are even inclined towards Linux. So wider support for an app or software is always welcome.
When it comes to the general Chrome browser, it supports both Windows and macOS. Along the same lines, it has actively supported the open-source Ubuntu, Linux, and its other distros as well. Furthermore, you don’t even need to specify the OS version or type. Just head over to Chrome’s official download page and it will automatically give you the setup file corresponding to your OS.
Along the same lines, Chrome Enterprise is also supported across Windows, Linux, and macOS. And it really makes sense considering the fact that there are some big organizations that are actively using Linux, Ubuntu, and other distros. But do keep in mind that setting it up requires the implementation of some policies, for which you might need the helping hand of IT personnel.
So both normal Chrome, as well as its Enterprise edition, manages to pick up the winners trophy, at least in this section.
When dealing with an app or software, it is essential to get hold of their working directory. This way you will be aware of the location where it saves the all-important data and the less-important cache files as well.
When you install Chrome via its .exe file, it makes use of the User Data directory on Windows. This is because of the fact that the normal Chrome version works on a user-level basis. Along the same lines, it uses the Default folder in Mac and Linux. Here’s the complete location corresponding to all three OS:
- Windows: C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data
- Mac OS X: ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default
- Linux OS: ~/.config/google-chrome/Default
On the other hand, as already mentioned, the Chrome Enterprise doesn’t work on a user level and installs itself on a system level. As a result, it doesn’t deal with User Data but rather uses Windows’ Program Files directory.
On paper, it might sound that the normal Chrome browser does better at privacy as compared to Enterprise as the former only accesses the user data. But that wouldn’t be the correct metric of judging the privacy aspect as the enterprise edition is specially crafted to work at the system level with escalated privileges.
Upgrade and Downgrade
It is always recommended to use the latest build of an app as the developer patches and fixes underlying issues and might also bring in new features. However, in some instances, a new version might break some functionalities of the app, and hence users prefer to roll back to an earlier version for a temporary time period.
You could easily update to the latest build of Chrome right from within the browser itself. But downgrading requires you to step into unchartered territory and look for its older builds on other third-party sites. Still, these sites are easy to get hold of and downgrading turns out to be a fairly easy process.
Talking about the Enterprise edition, users with the required permissions set could carry out the update process right from the browser’s ecosystem itself. However, downgrading is an extremely challenging task. Not only finding an older MSI Installation setup is a challenging task but carrying out a downgrade on an organization-wide level often involves risks as well.
As a result, it turns out the normal Chrome browser outdoes its Enterprise version when it comes to the downgrade process.
Third-Party Extension Support
Using add-ons and extensions adds up more to the overall browsing experience. Likewise, they also tend to add more functionalities to the software.
When it comes to Chrome, it’s no hidden secret that it probably has among the biggest collection of add-ons and extensions. Be it for productivity, security, performance, or for just changing the look and feel of the overall browser, you name it and the Chromium ecosystem would have in store for you.
Likewise, Chrome Enterprise could also make use of these add-ons. However, most organizations prefer to maintain a safe distance from it, considering the security risks involved. Rather they make use of Windows Group Policy and Registry settings to implement various policies that might help them in extracting the browser’s full potentiality.
Again, both browsers have an equal share of the pie. While the Chrome web store is enough to meet the needs of everyday users, for Enterprise users, the Group Policy Editor is usually the go-to choice.
Bottom Line: Chrome vs. Chrome Enterprise
So with this, we conclude the extensive coverage on the differences between the Chrome browser and its Enterprise counterpart.
As it turns out, the former comes in handy for personal usages and small organizations.
On the other hand, the Enterprise build is mostly for the companies that are looking for business solutions by integrating the various offerings of the Silicon Valley giants.
With that said, if you are in the enterprise sector and have tried out this build, then do let us know your usage experience about the same in the comments section below.
FAQ: Chrome vs. Chrome Enterprise
Is Chrome Enterprise Free?
Yes, Chrome Enterprise is free at no extra cost. However, you can subscribe to enterprise-level support which is optional.
What is Google Chrome Enterprise?
The Google Chrome browser for Enterprise is a business-grade web browser managed by the network and IT administrator within the organization.
How do I know if I have Chrome Enterprise?
Launch Google Chrome browser and open the More options menu to check for the notice “Managed by your organization”. If you can see Managed by your organization, then you have Chrome Enterprise.
How much does Chrome for Enterprise cost?
Chrome Enterprise or Chrome for Business Upgrade is bundled with business capabilities of Chrome OS and Chrome Enterprise Browser, and Chrome devices. The Chrome Enterprise costs $50 USD per device per year for an upgrade.