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Windows 7 Kiosk vs Chrome 'Public Session' mode

Posted on 2013-07-01
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Last Modified: 2013-07-08
I just finished a pilot program for a customer using Windows 7 Pro and Group Policy to lock down a system.  The systems are used for training and need access to just the training website and PowerPoint Viewer.

We are starting to look at phase 2 which is a bit more computers and the customer has asked me about Chromebooks, (Android based cheap machine) and my initial research revealed there is a 'Public Session' mode that allows you to achieve a similar level of control.

My question is does anybody have any feedback on Chome Public Sessions vs Windows 7 'Kiosk' mode, and I guess Windows 8.1 Kiosk mode?

More detail on what we've done with the current setup.

Windows 7 Pro, we are not running IE in KIOSK mode, but we've locked stuff down to remove all ability to launch anything other than the specified apps while logged in as the training user.  When you boot the computers they auto-login with the training user which launches the training website, we use 'Content Advisor' to restrict access to just the training website.

We've done more such as removing right click capability, task manager, etc

Frankly, the end result is elegant.

Can a Chrome option get anywhere close?
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Question by:ITDharam
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Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 39291361
will not run the powerpoint viewer.  Chromebooks are just a web browser, ONLY
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Expert Comment

by:steveoskh
ID: 39291664
I do not have experience with Chrome public session mode.   We do have a dozen or so chromebooks that are fantastic as long as you use them for their intended purpose.   We use Google App so for most of my users when they are away from their desks, all they need is web access.  For the occasional need to get back to their desktops for accounting applications we have them use Chrome remote.  Back to your question.

You will need to purchase "managed Chrome devices" directly from Google.  This allows you to centrally manage them and the public session mode.  We did not find value in the management and just purchase our chromebooks from CDW.
For your project it sounds like you want a ChromeBox directly from Google.
If you do not have a relationship with Google, go to http://www.google.com/enterprise and click on the contact link.  Web form and phone number will put you in contact.

If you do not have a relationship with Google Enterprise, do not write them off without a serious look.   I hear so many people make comments about support when they have only used the free Google services.   We use Google Apps and their supports beats everyone else hands down.  I can reach someone by phone but even email support marked non-critical I received phone calls within an hour.  For the paid service, which your managed Chrome Book/Box will be, support is very good.
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Author Comment

by:ITDharam
ID: 39295465
vd3ofa, I'm giving you a link directly from Google that says there is a 'native plugin' that will open all the different office file types.  I need to just view the office files, so that should be adequate.

Please let me know if you still believe otherwise.

https://support.google.com/chromeos/answer/2481498?hl=en

Steveoshkh,

I've never heard of these 'managed' devices.  Sounds interesting.  I'm looking to go ahead and purchase a Chromebook for testing purposes, with that in mind, any old Chromebook should work right?  Later when we're ready to deploy, assuming the Chromebook works for the training material, we would then go with the 'Managed' devices in order to centrally administer them using a Google configuration system...kinds sounds neat.

Thanks,

Anyone else got specific experience with 'public session' mode?
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Expert Comment

by:steveoskh
ID: 39297751
For managing our Google Apps users (Email, docs, sites) we connect to an Admin Console.  From the Admin Console I would be able to control any Chromebook that I purchased directly from Google.  I purchased my Chromebooks from CDW so I can not manage them through the Admin Console.    So, the chromebooks that we own are not "Managed Devices" since they did not come directly from Google with the management subscription.  It appears that you need to enable the kiosk mode through the Admin Console.

So if you buy "any old chromebook" you can get the chromebook experience and guest mode but not the kiosk mode or ability to manage them in the admin console.
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Author Comment

by:ITDharam
ID: 39298551
How do you purchase a device directly from Google?

I visited http://www.google.com/intl/en/chrome/devices/ 

there are 4 devices listed, and of those 3 of them have 'Google Play' as a purchase option.  Seems to me that any of the listed resellers would allow full support but it isn't really clear.

Thanks for the help.
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Accepted Solution

by:
steveoskh earned 500 total points
ID: 39300904
One of my frustrations is that they do not make this clear for someone like yourself who is new to Google.  I suggest filling out the contact form at http://www.google.com/enterprise/#display=cs-dialog-form
or calling 855-648-3755   m-f 6am to 5pm PST
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Author Closing Comment

by:ITDharam
ID: 39307980
Thanks, this will work.
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