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Google Chrome Frame Takes Pity On Internet Explorer

Gordon Kelly


You know your browser must be in a pretty poor state when even your rivals start to take pity on it...

Google has decided to lend Internet Explorer a helping hand this week with the introduction of 'Chrome Frame' for IE6, IE and IE8. In short Frame is an open source plug-in that brings HTML5 support and other open web technologies to these hapless browsers.

"With Google Chrome Frame, developers can now take advantage of the latest open web technologies, even in Internet Explorer," said Google software engineers Amit Joshi and Alex Russell (surely with smiles on their faces). "From a faster Javascript engine, to support for current web technologies like HTML5's offline capabilities and , to modern CSS/Layout handling, Google Chrome Frame enables these features within IE with no additional coding or testing for different browser versions."

To start using Google Chrome Frame, all developers need to do is to add a single tag:

After this Chrome Frame will switch IE to use Chrome's vastly faster Webkit based rendering engine so users "seamlessly enjoy modern web apps at blazing speeds, through the familiar interface of the version of IE that they are currently using."

Ultimately, while Chrome Frame is welcome the even easier solution is to move to Chrome, Firefox or any of the other countless web browsers which already support these soon-to-be fundamental standards. After all, if IE6, 7 and 8 users knew enough to add in Chrome Frame you'd think they'd know enough to switch browsers completely?

Still, it's kinda funny...


Google Official Blog Post

Google Chrome Frame


September 24, 2009, 12:49 pm

Missing a '7' from the following me thinks: "the 'introduction of 'Chrome Frame' for IE6, IE and IE8."


September 24, 2009, 1:03 pm

"After all, if IE6, 7 and 8 users knew enough to add in Chrome Frame you'd think they'd know enough to switch browsers completely?"

This comment made me chuckle to myself. I've been using FF and more recently chrome as my complimentary browsers for some years now. Why do I say complimentary? Because I always have to keep a version of IE installed on my computer as it's the only browser that plays nicely with all content. I had to ditch FF because I program I use when I'm working from home (java-based) has never run properly on any version thus far. FF doesn't render my online banking page properly and Chrome just plain isn't supported by them. I had to register on a message board through IE because Chrome wouldn't open a new window with my registration details (and no, pop-ups weren't disabled . . . . ). Am I unlucky? Maybe, but I couldn't remove IE 8 from my system as it gets called upon too often.


September 24, 2009, 1:23 pm

@JJones. Why not keep using FF but install the IE Tab add on: https://addons.mozilla.org/... You can then set whatever sites to open in IE within FF.


September 24, 2009, 1:53 pm

My guess is that this is aimed more at corporate markets - central IT doesn't have the resources to test or convert all web apps to run on FF or Chrome so they stick with the safe option of IE 6,7,8. With Frame they can roll out the plug-in to desktops and web developers can make use of Frame if they want to (the single tag) while the vast majority of existing web apps continue to work.

Sounds like a smart way to encourage corporate clients to transition to Chrome to me.


September 24, 2009, 2:03 pm


Many thanks for the suggestion. I didn't know such a add-on existed.


September 24, 2009, 3:58 pm

More clutter to avoid, IE is just fine.

Must add this to the stupid things to do - installing addons in FF to browse in IE is this dumb & dumber?


September 24, 2009, 4:23 pm

@hank "IE is just fine" - a truly terrifying comment and one that - if widespread - would greatly hinder the future evolution of the World Web Wide.


September 24, 2009, 10:46 pm

@hank "IE is just fine" - lol. As a browser of the internet I simply ignore it.

@JJones I know use Chrome as my default brower. And speaking as a web based systems developer I use FF first and foremost. If a site does not work in 2009 across browsers then it is poorly written. nuff said. Complaining to those that have poor public websites is a good way to get things done especially when you are their customer.


September 25, 2009, 12:58 pm

I know it's trendy to hate IE - and as a techy I also use chrome and in Linux Firefox. For the majority of people Hanks statement that it's fine is absolutely fair. Most people dont care about addons, or that it does or doesnt pass an acid test and so on or that its rendering engine will shave a fraction of a second off looking at a web page. They care that they can shop at tescos online, do their banking and post messages on facebook etc etc. In this respect IE is absolutely fine.


September 25, 2009, 9:52 pm

@Castalan it's also fine to ignore the little yellow shield in the corner, not bother to learn why anti-virus software needs updating and to open an exe email attachment from "Dave".


September 27, 2009, 2:37 am

@jopey: arent you taking it a bit too far? ie6 is fine for the occasional browsing - i use it myself alongside opera 10


September 30, 2009, 12:03 am

haha, kinda funny article. One really cool thing I saw recently for IE 6+ was at pepcom. A *FREE* plugin for IE6+ that allows you to stream audio & video to connected devices in your home: http://www.twonkymedia.com/...


October 1, 2009, 4:19 am

@Castalan - it's an important point, for the average user (or the mum & dad test) it simply needs to work - and it does that very well.

Saying that, there's still plenty in IE8 that has kept me from switching to Firefox/Chrome (though I'm playing with Opera 10 and would probably switch if Opera hadn't been so vocal regarding the EU/Win7/IE bundling saga).

Simply put, Accelerators make IE significantly more useable for me - yes, it's slower at loading web pages - but using accelerators means that I can highlight a postcode and have a map loading a single page, rather than loading 2 pages quickly with Firefox and having to search with Google - the IE method is far quicker from my tests with FF 3.013.

Which brings me onto my main problem with Firefox - it can take months for add-ins to be updated - if I ignore the themes I've installed I've only just this week had the final add-in be updated to support 3.5 - something that makes it very difficult to switch permanently to Firefox (it's a minimise to system tray app, something my IE add-in still does perfectly... and in a better manner via a key combo rather than minimising the open window).

Chrome... Google installer and lack of RSS feed support mean I'm not happy using it, even if it's significantly faster at loading pages (which it definitely is).

Only Opera with it's built-in bittorrent client, thumbnail/vertical tabs and speed dial make it a tempting alternative. But I can't live without the thumbnail preview (CTRL + Q) to quickly jump through my IE tabs - nothing I've found for Firefox does the job as effectively.

I'll also add that the wider browser communities put me off switching - e.g. I find the Firefox community to simply answer things by linking to an add-in or state that Firefox is better without providing a reasoned argument, just that it's better than IE without any reasons unless pushed for an answer.

So I'm quite happily sticking with IE8 as my main browser - and not because it's bundled with Windows - it's works in a manner that I like and does certain things significantly better in my opinion than Firefox/Chrome/Opera.

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