Who The Hell Needs Google Chrome Frame?

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 23, 2009
Updated • May 21, 2018
Google Chrome

Update: Google has retired Google Chrome Frame as of February 25, 2014. While it is not supported anymore officially, users who have the plugin installed can continue using it as it won't be removed automatically. It needs to be noted however that it is no longer supported and that issues may occur when using it because of it.

According to Google, the reason for pulling the plug is the decline of legacy browsers and the rise of modern browsers.End

Innovation is good. Niche software is good as well as there are usually at least some users who might need a program that the majority of users does not even bother thinking about.

Google Chrome Frame is a niche product. The niche might, however, be that small that it lacks the core ingredient: users.

Google Chrome Frame is an Internet Explorer plugin basically that allows Internet Explorer users to use the Google Chrome engine instead of the Internet Explorer engine.

So far so good. The major problem here is that the Google Chrome engine only kicks in if it is detected by a website that supports it. The other limitation is that users need to have the rights to install plugins to use it.

Home environments usually do not impose web browser limitations to users which leaves corporate environments as the most likely target for Google Chrome Frame.

These however usually secure Internet Explorer to a point where users cannot do fancy things like installing plugins or changing core settings. There might be businesses with lower security standards, but the majority is probably dead serious about security.

Which leaves two types of users who might find Chrome Frame useful.

  • Users who work exclusively with Internet Explorer and like to use Google Chrome Frame on some supporting websites to experience better performance and technical support.
  • Users who are forced to work with Internet Explorer, like Google Chrome better and are allowed to install plugins.

The plugin has a size of about 500 Kilobytes and will download Google Chrome during the installation process.

Check out the plugin's homepage for additional information and downloads. It is compatible with Internet Explorer 8, 7 and 6. If you give it a try let us know how you feel about it.

Google is a bit shy about test pages not listing a single one on the project page yet. Users do have the option to force the Google Chrome Frame plugin to take over by adding cf: in front of any URL.

Article Name
Who The Hell Needs Google Chrome Frame?
Google Chrome Frame is a plugin for Internet Explorer that integrates Chrome's rendering engine into Microsoft's browser.
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  1. Canta said on February 27, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Google Chrome Frame is a blessing from heavens. It works on every version of IE from 6 to current, and since i work with current and public standars (that means, almost nothing from Microsoft) just installing Chrome Frame eliminates the whole Win+IE problem from all of my projects.

    Who the hell needs it? I need it.

  2. Thomas Hunter said on June 15, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    This is a pretty valid point. Unless Chrome Frame was installed by default wherever IE was present there is no reason at all for this plugin to exist.

  3. Hamranhansenhansen said on September 26, 2009 at 2:32 am

    > [corporate environments] usually secure Internet Explorer to a point where users
    > cannot do fancy things like installing plugins or changing core settings

    No, this is not true. I freelance at a lot of companies and am at a huge multinational right now and nobody has ever prevented me from installing anything into Windows XP. Part of the problem with XP is you can’t lock it down and still use it productively in many cases. I just installed Chrome Frame into IE6, which is this company’s default browser because they have a handful of IE6-only apps. You don’t even have to restart IE6. It takes 3 minutes. The speed improvement is obvious. The HTML5 compatibility is welcome. The IE6 compatibility is still there. You lose nothing.

    Even if locked down, I have heard I-T managers complaining and complaining about IE6 and how are we going to keep running our IE6 apps yet get our users onto a modern browser? The most recent suggestion was to run both IE6 and Chrome side-by-side and train users on what to run where. Then Chrome Frame was released and the I-T people have light bulbs going off over them. They can’t wait to install it.

    Keep in mind you have to install an IE Add-on to run WebEx. You have to install an IE Add-on to run Java. Now, you have to install an IE Add-on to run HTML5. This is all very, very basic. Chrome Frame is not a hack, it’s a Microsoft Internet Explorer Browser Helper Object (BHO) also known as an Internet Explorer Add-on. You install with a click of one button in IE, and you uninstall through Tools > Add-ons. This is not exotic. The company where I’m at now has 12 BHO’s they install on every machine already. They have over 20 of the Outlook version of these. They are still running XP and IE6 … all they know is Add-ons for those.

    > At first sight I don’t feel particularly enthusiastic, I’d even say I feel a
    > somewhat rude strategy I dislike, like “move off, buddy”. Not very elegant.

    That is because you are thinking in Microsoft’s childish terms, where they are a giant robot and Google is a giant robot and the users are just insignificant little people they can stomp on as they throw hunks of concrete at each other in a bid for world domination.

    In the real world, there is a huge demand for a single Web browser that can run both IE6 apps (old Web apps) and HTML5 apps (new Web apps). IE8 was Microsoft’s answer to this demand and they failed miserably. IE8 has IE6 in it and it has Silverlight in it, but no HTML5. That is not what people want. When you fail to provide your users with what they want and need, someone else comes in and does it. That’s how it works. Flash plugs in to IE to provide ISO MPEG-4 and Chrome Frame plugs in to IE to provide W3C HTML5. These are the 2 most important technical standards of the 21st century so far and Microsoft has set themselves against both. Good luck to them. However there is no requirement that the rest of the industry or any users (Microsoft or otherwise) also commit that kind of technical suicide.

    Note that MPEG-4 replaced the CD, DVD, and MP3, and HTML5 replaced not only HTML4 but also all of print publishing. Books are turning into epub (HTML5) and album artwork is turning into iTunes LP (HTML5) and so on. Users who don’t have both of these standards are not part of the 21st century. For Google to not provide these features so as not to be “rude” to Microsoft would be a colossal disservice to users. It would be the worst kind of corporate collusion.

    > Now it’s up to developers to implement it on every site.

    There is already a Drupal module so Drupal users can add it to their site with a click. I already added it to 3 websites and one Web app and seeing them run so well in IE was a joy.

    It’s also up to developers to build HTML5 apps that make users drool so they feel rewarded for upgrading. So users can see content that causes Chrome to flex its muscles.

    > But all in all, how embarrassing for Microsoft.

    They earned it. They did not update IE6 for 5 years, and IE7 and IE8 are only lateral moves. They included IE6 in IE8 but did not include HTML5, so the user keeps legacy compatibility but does not gain the modern Web. So it was left to the 3rd party software market to satisfy the users. Google has made a way to run IE6 and HTML5 in the same browser. Microsoft should be embarrassed not just because they are behind in tech but also because they failed to satisfy their users.

    1. rruben said on September 26, 2009 at 11:07 am

      Thanks for your insight. That’s an interesting read.

      And thanks for pointing me to the Drupal module for this, that’s very welcome here!

  4. Transcontinental said on September 25, 2009 at 11:30 am

    “Microsoft: Google Chrome Frame makes IE less secure” (?)

  5. venkat said on September 25, 2009 at 9:25 am

    It is really embarrassing for Microsoft as IE is the biggest browser share holder which lacks supporting open technologies.

  6. rruben said on September 24, 2009 at 10:14 am

    I think this is a genius move from Google. Sys Admins can just install it on all pc’s ( without having to give permision to the user to do it). This way corporate users can still use IE6 for their dependent applications and be part of modern internet at the same time. Now it’s up to developers to implement it on every site.
    For home users I think they will see it as something like Flash player which you also have to install as plugin. As long there doesn’t change anything visible they are fine with it.

  7. Dennis said on September 23, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Even if no one ends up using Google Chrome Frame, its a slap in the face of Microsoft no matter how you look at it.
    Google Frame basically emulates Google Chrome inside IE.

    But all in all, how embarrassing for Microsoft.

  8. Rarst said on September 23, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Strange? Chrome version that detects you on the street by IE scent, stalks you home and silently installs on your PC at 5AM won’t surprise me…

    Firefox may be content with flashy marketing and stupid ‘market share’ statistics.

    Google won’t be content with market share, they want market. And that means undercutting MS and their products in every possible way.

  9. gokudomatic said on September 23, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    not cheap (that’s linux), stylish. That’s a fashion recently to be w3c compliant and to use html5. Yeah! The *new* web! Not web 2, not web 3, no, web 5! (where the heck did web 4 go?)

  10. Transcontinental said on September 23, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Gogle Wave, Google Wave … that’s what Google says, I know. In the same way that a vegetarian brings his own food ?! I say, cheap, man, cheap!

  11. Jess Harpur said on September 23, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Think “Google Wave” :)

  12. Transcontinental said on September 23, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    To try it I’d have to find a website that supports it, right? That’s one thing which should resolve, I guess.
    The main point of course, as the title of your article mentions it, is the opportuneness of such an approach, method is it?
    At first sight I don’t feel particularly enthusiastic, I’d even say I feel a somewhat rude strategy I dislike, like “move off, buddy”. Not very elegant.

    I wonder what the face of Ballmer looks like right now :)

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