A New Google Plugin Enables Chrome to Run Inside IE

Giving users the benefits of a faster browser and HTML 5 support

A lot of people hate Internet Explorer 6 and for good reason. Developers don't like it because making their projects work on the aging browser with all its quirks eats up precious time and users don't like it because of its severe lack of features and poor performance. But for many upgrading isn't an option and many businesses still rely on the browser launched in 2001. But now there is an alternative; with a plugin users will get all of the benefits of a modern browser while still running IE and the best part is that it took Google to make this happen.

“Today, we're releasing an early version of Google Chrome Frame, an open source plug-in that brings HTML5 and other open web technologies to Internet Explorer,” software engineers Amit Joshi and Alex Russell and product manager Mike Smith wrote. “We're building Google Chrome Frame to help web developers deliver faster, richer applications like Google Wave. Recent JavaScript performance improvements and the emergence of HTML5 have enabled web applications to do things that could previously only be done by desktop software. One challenge developers face in using these new technologies is that they are not yet supported by Internet Explorer.”

With the Google Chrome Frame, users will actually be running Chrome inside Internet Explorer, taking advantage of the latest version of the Webkit rendering engine and Google’s speedy V8 JavaScript engine. This makes a significant difference for the users as, finally, they'll be able to view the websites in a standards compliant browser that will render them like they are supposed to be rendered, and they'll also notice a significant speed bump especially in JavaScript heavy applications, like most of Google's products. And, while it was designed with IE 6 users in mind, the plugin is actually available for all Internet Explorer versions.

But, apart from the improved performance, the new plugin will enable users to enjoy some of the latest web technologies, like the ones from the proposed HTML 5 standard, which most modern browsers – Firefox, Chrome, Safari – already support but towards which Microsoft has been very reluctant. The plugin itself will be a 500 KB download after which it will download an additional 10 MB or so of data. The Webkit rendering engine and V8 are straight from the developers channel so IE users will actually be running newer and faster versions than Chrome beta or stable users. And, because Chrome was designed to be as lightweight as possible, the performance penalty of running two browsers at the same time should be offset.

Google Chrome Frame for Internet Explorer is available for download here.

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