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.
"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.