Google became the most valuable internet brand through its ubiquitous search engine and smartphone software. Finding comparable success within the corporate walls has been a challenge.
The company's web-based applications for creating documents and spreadsheets are popular among small businesses, but less so within large enterprises. And Google got a late start in the cloud infrastructure market, where Amazon Web Services has built a wide lead with companies looking to offload their data storage and computing needs to outside data centers.
Google's quest to crack the enterprise market is now getting a major lift from an unexpected source: laptops.
Built on its homegrown operating system, Google's Chromebooks outsold Apple Macs in the first quarter and are gaining the trust of some big-spending clients. For evidence, talk to Chuck.
Charles Schwab, the 45-year-old financial services company, has been replacing paper forms at roughly 250 branches and loading up on Chromebooks. Through a secure digital session, customers can open an account, add a family member or sign up to the firm's automated investing service. All that data is automatically wiped off the computer after the client logs off.
Schwab started with a rollout of about 1,000 Chromebooks early last year and has since doubled that number, said Ed Obuchowski, Schwab's senior vice president of advisor technology solutions.
This is just the start. Over time, Obuchowski says, the Google brand is quite likely to show up in a variety of other places inside Schwab.