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Deploying Google Chrome Enterprise

If you deploy Google Chrome it is highly recommended that you deploy the Enterprise edition of Chrome. We use Google Chrome Enterprise in the Package Library. I will quickly lay out the reasons and a few "gotchas" when it comes to deploying Chrome.

First, let me include the download links that you can use to grab the latest and greatest Chrome Enterprise.

Google Chrome Enterprise

Google Chrome Enterprise (64-bit)

Note: Most administrators still prefer to deploy the 32-bit version of Chrome even to 64-bit machines. It's your call. 

Reasons

  1. You can use the Auto Deployment feature in PDQ Deploy to decide when your computers get the latest version of Chrome. The approval and deployment schedules can be configured in ways that are appropriate to your environment.
  2. Chrome Enterprise is meant to be managed centrally. Google provides great ADMX extensions for Active Directory
  3. Chrome Enterprise is installed per machine, not per user. This means you can easily enforce a single, supported version of Chrome without having every user upgrade (or not) thus causing disparate versions across your enterprise. Basically, you only have to deploy it once to each machine.
  4. The Enterprise uninstall is very straightforward since it is installed via msiexec.exe.
  5. If you don't use the AD extensions you can still make Chrome modifications to the target computers registry to achieve the same configuration across your enterprise.

Gotchas

  1. From an Inventory perspective the Enterprise branch of Chrome maintains a different version scheme than the regular, user level branch. Most Windows applications place the application name and version in the registry but if you use PDQ Inventory, SCCM or other inventory tools you may notice the Enterprise version numbers are different.
    • For example Chrome version 45.0.2454.85 will look like version 66.101.32853 when the version is viewed in the conventional SysAdmin way. Why? When you install from the Enterprise MSI a different version is stored in the Uninstall key of the registry. This version, however, will not be shown when you look at the version from within Chrome. (see example below)
    • DifferentChromeVersions.png
    • Below is a screenshot of how Chrome Enterprise version is shown in PDQ Inventory.
    • ChromeEnterpriseVersioninInventory.png
    • While this can be somewhat of a pain it is nice to be able to easily tell which machines have had the Chrome Enterprise MSI installed.
    • When you use Collections and Reports in PDQ Inventory to compare or display versions of Chrome make sure to account for the different version scheme.
  2. The second gotcha is directly related to the first. It is important to not allow Auto Updates of the Chrome Enterprise version. When Chrome auto updates the Enterprise version it does not install via the MSI therefore it does not update the DisplayVersion value in the registry. This can throw your Inventory reports for a loop.
    • If you do allow Chrome to auto update then you may need to build custom scanners to determine the version. In PDQ Inventory this means either Registry or File Scanners. (There are other areas of the registry where Chrome stores the conventional version scheme)

Here is a good FAQ article about the Enterprise edition of Chrome.

Example of deploying Google Chrome via PDQ Deploy.

 

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