Chrome Frame makes IE smokin' fast but breaks Outlook

Frame seems to speed IE's Javascript performance, but leaves a messy trail.

Testers are claiming that the Google's new Internet Explorer plug-in, Google Chrome Frame, makes IE8 run ten times faster. Microsoft is not amused. The company has already started a push-back campaign that notes that Frame breaks stuff in Outlook and Word and might offer a big target for hackers

Specifically, Computerworld's Greg Keizer says that tests run by the publication show that Frame makes Javascript about 10 times faster than IE8 on its own.

On the other hand, Chrome Frame crashes IE8 on Windows 7 64bit, according to Microsoft's Felix Wang. It also breaks Outlook and Word's ability to use IE to automatically open hyperlinks, he says. And it doesn't uninstall cleanly. "After un-installation, it leaves related registry values under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes as ChromeHTML, instead of htmlfile, which fires up the default browser correctly," he writes.

Wang doesn't mention that Google has clearly said that the current version of Chrome Frame is an early developer's release, being shared for folks to use with their Web sites. It is not a plug-in that is ready for consumer use. But that doesn't take Google off the hook. If Google is going to create a plug-in aimed at Windows users, then it needs to make sure that its plug-in doesn't break the apps Windows users use most.

Wang's blog post is joined by Microsoft's more official push-back campaign. A spokesperson has been sending what I find to be an amusing, vaguely worded secruity risk warning to several journalists in response to Google's Chrome Frame. The gist is that Internet Explorer 8 is a marvel of security enhancements and that plugs-ins generally, and Chrome in particular, offer crummy security.

The statement (which can be found here and here) attributed to a Microsoft spokesperson includes the following nastygram bit, "Given the security issues with plug-ins in general and Google Chrome in particular, Google Chrome Frame running as a plug-in has doubled the attach area for malware and malicious scripts." The statement then points to phishing and malware data from NSS Labs, a study paid for by Microsoft.

Folks in the Twitterverse have pointed out the terrible logic in Microsoft's anti-plug-in position. If plug-ins are an inherent security risk, where does that leave Microsoft technologies like Silverlight?

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