Source Code: Your daily look at what matters in tech.

enterpriseenterpriseauthorTom KrazitNoneAre you keeping up with the latest cloud developments? Get Tom Krazit and Joe Williams' newsletter every Monday and Thursday.d3d5b92349
×

Get access to Protocol

Your information will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy

I’m already a subscriber
Power

Google wants to bring back the enterprise web application — with Chrome at the center

The Modern Computing Alliance includes 11 prominent tech companies that have agreed to design their products to work better together as part of a new effort to resurrect web applications.

Google wants to bring back the enterprise web application — with Chrome at the center

The alliance members have pledged to devote engineering time toward making their products work better together.

Image: Google

After a year during which businesses embraced cloud-based enterprise software at an astounding pace, Google wants to make its Chrome browser and Chrome OS devices the preferred vehicle for a new way of working.

Google has assembled 11 enterprise tech companies in the Modern Computing Alliance, which will be unveiled Thursday. The idea behind the alliance is to encourage enterprise software vendors to work closely with Google and Intel to improve the performance of their services on Chrome and Chrome OS, and also resurrect the concept of "progressive web applications," said John Solomon, vice president for Chrome OS at Google.

"We've realized that the demands for computing are becoming increasingly complex," Solomon said in an interview with Protocol. "Many systems today are not optimized for all-day videoconferencing in a rich application environment, and that is because the end-to-end systems are not designed with that in mind."

The alliance members have pledged to devote engineering time toward making their products work better together, said Chris Walker, vice president and general manager for mobile client platforms at Intel, an inaugural member.

"This is an engineering-first work group," Walker said. Solomon agreed: "There's a tremendous opportunity [in just] performance improvements, not to mention security improvements."

Many of the enterprise tools embraced by remote workers this year — including alliance members Zoom, Slack and Box — are used through desktop or mobile apps on Macs, PCs, iPhones and Android devices. Through the alliance, Google wants to encourage software vendors to build web applications as performant and easy-to-use as their desktop alternatives — so long as Chrome or Chrome OS is the target.

"If an enterprise decides that they want to use Chrome OS to modernize their endpoint computers, we want to make sure that the applications they run today run unbelievably well from a performance perspective, from a security perspective, [including] identity and infrastructure," Solomon said.

About a decade ago, progressive web applications were considered the path forward for mobile developers looking to avoid creating two different applications for iOS and Android, but they never really caught on. Back in 2012, Mark Zuckerberg actually considered the time spent trying to develop a web application "the biggest mistake we've made as a company."

But a lot of things have changed this year. Companies are relying on cloud enterprise software for just about everything right now; meetings that used to take place in conference rooms without devices are now being conducted entirely online. And IT controls designed for physical networks and buildings don't work when we're working from home.

Standardizing on Chrome or Chrome OS apps developed through the alliance will give IT departments better data about how their workers are using their tools, as well as "recommendations on how to optimize workflow experiences and automate repetitive tasks, to facilitate improved system efficiency," according to a Google blog post.

"The web has come a long way," Solomon said. "The technologies available with Service Workers, and the way Chromium [the open-source version of Chrome] has come along, the web platform has developed so much that you're seeing progressive web apps now that are performing across areas no one could have imagined."

The other companies participating in the Modern Computing Alliance include Box, Citrix, Dell, Imprivata, Okta, RingCentral, Slack, VMware and Zoom. More details are expected to be released in the first half of 2021 on products co-developed through the alliance, and Google is actively soliciting other companies to join.

Correction: This article was updated at 1:01 p.m. PT to correct Chris Walker's title.

Protocol | Workplace

The pay gap persists for Black women

"The pay gap is a multifaceted problem and any time you have a complex problem, there's not a single solution that's going to solve it."

For every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, Black women are paid just 63 cents, according to the American Community Survey Census data.

Photo: Christine/Unsplash

Last year's racial reckoning following the murder of George Floyd led many tech companies to commit to promoting equity within their organizations, including working toward pay equity. But despite efforts, the wage gap for Black women still persists. For every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men, Black women are paid just 63 cents, according to the American Community Survey Census data.

Black Women's Equal Pay Day on Tuesday represents the estimated number of days into the year it would take for Black women to make what their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts made at the end of the previous year, according to the organization Equal Pay Today. And while the responsibility to fix the pay gap falls mostly on companies to rectify, some female employees have taken matters into their own hands and held companies to their asserted values by negotiating higher pay.

Keep Reading Show less
Amber Burton

Amber Burton (@amberbburton) is a reporter at Protocol. Previously, she covered personal finance and diversity in business at The Wall Street Journal. She earned an M.S. in Strategic Communications from Columbia University and B.A. in English and Journalism from Wake Forest University. She lives in North Carolina.

pay

What comes to mind when you think of AI? In the past, it might have been the Turing test, a sci-fi character or IBM's Deep Blue-defeating chess champion Garry Kasparov. Today, instead of copying human intelligence, we're seeing immense progress made in using AI to unobtrusively simplify and enrich our own intelligence and experiences. Natural language processing, modern encrypted security solutions, advanced perception and imaging capabilities, next-generation data management and logistics, and automotive assistance are some of the many ways AI is quietly yet unmistakably driving some of the latest advancements inside our phones, PCs, cars and other crucial 21st century devices. And the combination of 5G and AI is enabling a world with distributed intelligence where AI processing is happening on devices and in the cloud.

Keep Reading Show less
Alex Katouzian
Alex Katouzian currently serves as senior vice president and general manager of the Mobile, Compute and Infrastructure (MCI) Business Unit at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. In this role, Katouzian is responsible for the profit, loss and strategy of the MCI BU, which includes business lines for Mobile Handset Products and Application Processor Technologies, 4G and 5G Mobile Broadband for embedded applications, Small and Macro Cells, Modem Technologies, Compute products across multiple OS’, eXtended Reality and AI Edge Cloud products.
Protocol | Workplace

Tech company hybrid work policies are becoming more flexible, not less

Twitter, LinkedIn and Asana are already changing their hybrid policies to allow for more flexibility.

Photo: FG Trade/Getty Images

Twitter, LinkedIn and Asana are all loosening up their strategies around hybrid work, allowing for more flexibility before even fully reopening their offices.

In the last week and a half, Twitter announced it's adopting an asynchronous-first approach, and both Asana and LinkedIn said they would increase the amount of time their employees can work remotely.

Keep Reading Show less
Allison Levitsky
Allison Levitsky is a reporter at Protocol covering workplace issues in tech. She previously covered big tech companies and the tech workforce for the Silicon Valley Business Journal. Allison grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from UC Berkeley.
Power

Activision Blizzard scrambles to repair its toxic image

Blizzard President J. Allen Brack is the first executive to depart amid the sexual harassment crisis.

Activision Blizzard doesn't seem committed to lasting change.

Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Getty Images

As Activision Blizzard's workplace crisis rages on into its third week, the company is taking measures to try to calm the storm — to little avail. On Tuesday, Blizzard President J. Allen Brack, who took the reins at the developer responsible for World of Warcraft back in 2018, resigned. He's to be replaced by executives Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra, who will co-lead the studio in a power-sharing agreement some believe further solidifies CEO Bobby Kotick's control over the subsidiary.

Nowhere in Blizzard's statement about Brack's departure does it mention California's explosive sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit at the heart of the saga. The lawsuit, filed last month, resulted last week in a 500-person walkout at Blizzard's headquarters in Irvine. (Among the attendees was none other than Ybarra, the new studio co-head.)

Keep Reading Show less
Nick Statt
Nick Statt is Protocol's video game reporter. Prior to joining Protocol, he was news editor at The Verge covering the gaming industry, mobile apps and antitrust out of San Francisco, in addition to managing coverage of Silicon Valley tech giants and startups. He now resides in Rochester, New York, home of the garbage plate and, completely coincidentally, the World Video Game Hall of Fame. He can be reached at nstatt@protocol.com.
Protocol | Workplace

Alabama Amazon workers will likely get a second union vote

An NLRB judge said that Amazon "usurped" the NLRB by pushing for a mailbox to be installed in front of its facility, and also that the company violated laws that protect workers from monitoring of their behavior during union elections.

An NLRB judge ruled that Amazon has violated union election rules

Image: Amazon

Bessemer, Alabama warehouse workers will likely get a second union vote because of Amazon's efforts to have a USPS ballot box installed just outside of the Bessemer warehouse facility during the mail-in vote, as well as other violations of union vote rules, according to an NLRB ruling published Tuesday morning.

While union organizers, represented by the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, lost the first vote by more than a 2:1 margin, a second election will be scheduled and held unless Amazon successfully appeals the ruling. Though Amazon is the country's second-largest private employer, no unionization effort at the company has ever been successful.

Keep Reading Show less
Anna Kramer

Anna Kramer is a reporter at Protocol (Twitter: @ anna_c_kramer, email: akramer@protocol.com), where she writes about labor and workplace issues. Prior to joining the team, she covered tech and small business for the San Francisco Chronicle and privacy for Bloomberg Law. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she studied International Relations and Arabic and wrote her senior thesis about surveillance tools and technological development in the Middle East.

Latest Stories