Lockdown-evading Chrome Frame exits beta

A version of Google's IE-modernizing plug-in that can be installed even without administrative privileges now is ready for mainstream use, Google says.

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Google, after working for months on a version of its Chrome Frame that can sidestep PC lockdown constraints, has released the first stable version of the plug-in for Internet Explorer.

Chrome Frame embeds a version of Google's browser into older versions of Microsoft's browser. Chrome Frame shows Web pages using the Chrome engine when Web programmers have set a flag that the software checks for.

One problem with the approach is that the very people who most need the technology often are those who don't have enough administrative privileges to install a newer browser than, say, the decade-old IE6. Thus Google wrote a version of Chrome Frame that hops over the lockdown barrier.

Programmer Greg Thompson announced in blog post today that this "non-admin" version of Chrome Frame has reached stable status. Those who want to stop using the beta version will have to uninstall it, then install the new version, he said.

In addition, Google programmer Alex Russell said in a blog post that Chrome Frame now can arrive faster on systems that already have Chrome installed. People don't have to download Chrome Frame, just use a new quick-enable option to activate it, Russell said.

Older versions of IE are loathed by Web developers for being out of date, sluggish, insecure, and out of compliance with many Web standards. Google now asks people visiting Gmail with IE6 or IE7 to upgrade or install Chrome Frame, Russell said.

Thompson also said Google has merged the admin and non-admin versions of the software into a single installer. "It will now run at Admin level by default and will fall back to Non-Admin mode if the user does not have the necessary permissions on their machine," Thompson said.

The regular version of Chrome Frame exited beta testing in September 2010.

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