Google plug-in builds Chrome browser into IE

Google Chrome Frame lets Microsoft's IE display pages with Chrome technology. But haven't most disgruntled Web surfers already installed a new browser?


Google released an Internet Explorer plug-in Tuesday designed to let Microsoft's browser use the features and performance of Google's own Chrome browser.

The software, called Google Chrome Frame, lets IE 6, 7, or 8 use Chrome to render Web pages and execute their JavaScript programs, Google said. To use it, people must install the open-source plug-in, currently in the developer preview stage, and Web developers must insert a line of code onto their Web sites that engages Chrome Frame when a person visits the site.

"For users, installing Google Chrome Frame will allow them to seamlessly enjoy modern Web apps at blazing speeds, through the familiar interface of the version of IE that they are currently using," said Google programmer Alex Russell and product manager Mike Smith in a blog post.

But the plug-in might needle its rival more than revolutionize Web browsing. For one thing, it takes a long time to get a lot of Web developers to update their sites. For another, how many people dissatisfied with IE's performance haven't already installed a higher-powered browser?

Google argues that the feature will appeal to some folks, though, including people in corporate settings who might not have a choice of browser and people who prefer IE's interface, said spokesman Eitan Bencuya. And people are familiar with plug-ins as a way to expand what browsers can do.

"It's a much lower barrier to entry than switching browsers," Bencuya said.

He added that Google has built support for the feature into one of its own Web sites, the Google Wave project that's a hybrid of e-mail, instant messaging, and wiki collaboration.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.


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