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Google Offers Life Support For Old Internet Explorer Versions

Google's Legacy Browser Support extension helps Chrome co-exist with Internet Explorer; cloud-based management tools also debut.

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Having worked for years to discourage use of Internet Explorer, Google is now offering businesses a way to keep older versions of Microsoft's browser on life support.

As part of its hard-fought campaign to woo business users from the desktop to the cloud, Google on Tuesday introduced two enhancements to its Chrome browser designed to appeal to IT managers.

Chrome's Legacy Browser Support extension allows IT managers to associate online applications with a specific browser.

When this feature is configured, Chrome users will automatically load specified URLs with Internet Explorer. This allows corporate Web apps designed with technologies like ActiveX to function without requiring users to launch Internet Explorer deliberately.

[ What else is Google up to? Read Google Glass Gets Mirror API. ]

There's also an optional Internet Explorer Legacy Browser Support add-on that takes users back to Chrome when an application doesn't require a legacy version of Internet Explorer.

This qualifies as something of an about-face in light of Google's decision to drop support for Internet Explorer 6 in 2010 and its effort to co-opt Internet Explorer through Chrome Frame.

Legacy Browser Support requires Chrome 26 or later.

Google has also launched cloud-based management of Chrome for Google Apps for Business and Education customers. This control panel provides IT administrators with a way to apply corporate policies to Chrome inside or outside the workplace. Bring Your Own Device, meet corporate policy.

"Now, whether employees are working from the company's desktop or their personal laptop, they will be able to access default applications, custom themes, or a curated app Web store when they sign-in to Chrome with their work account," Cyrus Mistry senior product manager for Chrome for Business and Education, said in a blog post.

Google's pitch to businesses continues to convince. On Tuesday, Dan Beecham, CIO of Australia's Woolworths Limited, said that his company has decided to shift to Google Apps and Chrome. "Changing to a cloud based suite of tools is a key part of our strategy to use technology to promote greater collaboration, productivity and effectiveness," he said in a blog post. "Over the next 12 months we will be rolling out Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Talk to the 26,000 staff in our national and state offices."

He said the move builds on the company earlier success with Gmail and a "Tap to Support" iPad app that supermarket store managers got last year. "The custom-made application, built on Google App Engine, helps our managers stay on the shop floor and focused on customers by allowing them to log a support ticket with our national support office in just one click rather than being tied to a PC in the back office," he wrote.

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