Google Set To Offer Browser-Based Security For Its Apps

Google's purchase of an antivirus company has industry analysts talking about Google diving into the enterprise apps market, as well as adding security to its toolbar.
As Google offers more browser-based applications to consumers and businesses, buying a security company that offers browser-based security makes a lot of sense, analysts say. It also may indicate that Google has greater enterprise application ambitions and could be planning to fill out its toolbar with on-demand safeguards.

The company known for its highly popular search engine bought GreenBorder Technologies mainly to get its people, according to Aaron Zamost, a spokesman for Google. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

"We were impressed by their small, talented team of engineers," Zamost said. He wouldn't say how or when Google will use GreenBorder's technologies, but he indicated that security isn't a new interest for Google. "We've always been interested in security," he said. "This adds to that."

GreenBorder has two anti-malware, anti-spyware products. The consumer product is GreenBorder Pro, and the enterprise-level product is GreenBorder Enterprise.

The security company, which was founded in 2001, offers products that stand apart from many of its competitors because the products don't fend off or block malware by guarding against new virus signatures or types. Rather, they build a bubble around a user's Internet sessions -- e-mail and Web browsing -- and if anything is downloaded or jumps on, it only happens in the bubble. Then when the user is done, it's flushed away. The Internet sessions are secluded from previous sessions, as well as from the rest of the system.

Dan Blum, a senior VP and research director with the Burton Group, said it's an interesting technology for Google to pick up. "They're getting rather gingerly into the enterprise software market," Blum said in an interview. "The more they go down the road providing browser-based applications -- like Google Apps and Google Desktop -- the more it takes them into this market. With GreenBorder, it looks like they're getting into browser security. It could potentially fit into their toolbar."

Blum added that Google could be a "wild card" in the enterprise applications market.

"Microsoft and IBM have these large suites, but Google could be a disruptive player," he said, noting that Google has strong name recognition and a cache in the tech market. "If more users start deploying Google's desktop applications and tools, IT might think it's a cheaper solution and easier to support."

Paul Stamp, a principal analyst with Forrester Research, said in an interview that it would be interesting for Google to be able to offer what he called "security at the moment."

"It wouldn't be installed on the PC," Stamp said. "It would just be there on-demand. That would make it easier to update, and give you fewer moving parts at the endpoint."

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