Google today is launching a new subscription service for businesses that use Chromebooks. For $50 per year and device, businesses can now subscribe to get access to Google’s advanced Chrome OS management features and support.
With this, Google now gives businesses the option to either pay a one-time fee of $150 for access to the management console and support, or to subscribe to this new $50/year/device plan. Most businesses probably plan for a three-year replacement cycle, so there isn’t a huge price difference there, but Google allows for license transfers to new devices with the annual subscription plan while the perpetual license can only be transferred to a device of the same model.
It’s worth noting that the new annual licenses are only available for Chrome for Work customers — not for educational institutions and nonprofits.
In addition to the new pricing option, Google is launching a couple of new features today that are now part of the advanced subscription/one-time payment service.
The most important new feature for many of the businesses that want to adopt Chromebooks is likely support for single sign-on. With this, enterprises can use their existing sign-on service like CA SiteMinder, Microsoft AD FS, Okta, Ping Identity, SecureAuth, and SimpleSAMLphp (basically, services that use the SAML standard) to allow their employees to log in to their Chromebooks now. That’s a big deal for many companies that don’t want to fully go with Google’s services and aren’t using Google Apps, for example.
With this update, businesses can now also easily provision their devices with client certificates for accessing 802.1X EAP-TLS wireless networks and mutual TLS-protected web resources. Admins can use Google’s management console to manage these certificates and distribute them to their users. Aruba Networks, Cloudpath Networks and Aerohive Networks have already implemented these features.