IHG pilots Google’s prototype Chrome notebooks

ATLANTA IHG is one of the first major companies to participate in a pilot program to test the business applications of Google’s new Chrome notebooks, which have not yet gone on the market.

IHG already develops most of its new internal applications as web apps using the Google Web Tooolkit, a set of development tools used to build complex browser-based applications. “So when we heard about Chrome notebooks, we jumped at the opportunity to try them out in several different parts of our business,” says Bryson Koehler, IHG’s senior vice president for global revenue and guest technology. “The speed, simplicity and security benefits of this pure cloud-computing model were too compelling to resist, particularly in contrast to the costs and hassles of desktop computing.”

IHG is testing the Chrome notebooks in several applications, including for call centers, business service centers and as a guest amenity.

“We believe the Chrome notebooks will provide our [call center] agents with the fastest experience for the web apps and sites that they use to support our customers,” Koehler says. “By reducing the average time per call, we’ll both increase customer satisfaction and significantly reduce our costs. And from an IT perspective, we won’t have to spend countless hours manually installing security patches and upgrades to operating systems and client software. Instead, we’ll be able to focus our time on creating more innovative apps to the benefit of our customers and our agents.

“We’re even looking into providing Chrome notebooks to some of our hotel guests during their stay. Imagine leaving your laptop at home on your next trip, and just picking up a Chrome notebook from the front desk at check-in. You log in and it’s just like your notebook at home: all your apps, bookmarks and preferences are available at your fingertips.

“This is just the beginning. We are excited to pilot Chrome notebooks in all these areas of our business and begin exploring using them for every employee at the company. For us, the web is the platform and we’re excited at the potential of Chrome notebooks to delight our users, save us money, make us even more secure, and allow IT to focus on what makes our business unique. I look forward to making Chrome Notebooks our default computer,” Koehler says.