Google Chrome Frame solves Internet Explorer's rendering problems

Google IE plugin brings support for HTML5 and other new technologies.

Google today introduced a plug-in for Internet Explorer called Chrome Frame. This plug-in gives Internet Explorer Chrome's standards-compliant rendering capabilities. If it becomes massively adopted by IE users, it could also push new standards along (like HTML5) with or without Microsoft's cooperation.

Says Google in its Google Code Blog:

"Google Chrome Frame [is] an open source plug-in that brings HTML5 and other open web technologies to Internet Explorer. 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. Developers can't afford to ignore IE -- most people use some version of IE -- so they end up spending lots of time implementing work-arounds or limiting the functionality of their apps."

Google promises web developers that all they need to do to use Frame is to add a single tag to their Web pages: <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="chrome=1"> Once done, the page knows to use Google's WebKit-based rendering engine. Of course, developers also need to convince IE users to download the Frame plugin, a fact that Google has downplayed.

Google cautions that Frame is at the early stages. Some users writing on the Chrome Frame informational page have commented that the plugin only supports Windows XP SP2+.

Let's also note that Chrome isn't perfect either. Many an app built to handle the idiosyncrasies of Internet Explorer doesn't work in Chrome, and Chrome is not universally supported by application vendors who have tacked Web front ends to their apps. It would be better if Microsoft would come of its own accord to the rendering table ... and we are seeing hints that this is happening, such as Microsoft becoming a gold sponsor of Google's SVG conference.

Then again, Microsoft has had ample time to decide to cooperate. Creating ways to make Microsoft's participation a moot point is an elegant response.

Here's Google's demo video:

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