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Google Brings Chrome Renderer, Speedy Javascript To IE 239

Posted by kdawson
from the behind-enemy-lines dept.
A month after we discussed Google's bringing SVG to IE, several readers let us know that Google is expanding the beachhead by offering Chrome's renderer and speedy Javascript execution in an IE plugin. This effort is in service of allowing IE to participate in Google Wave when that technology's preview is extended in a week's time. The plugin, currently in an early stage of development, is called Google Chrome Frame.
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Google Brings Chrome Renderer, Speedy Javascript To IE

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  • Makes you wonder... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @07:10PM (#29509907)

    ...if Google is going to pull the embrace, extend and extinguish routine on Microsoft. I hope I live to see that day.

    • by Frosty Piss (770223) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @07:24PM (#29510027)

      ...if Google is going to pull the embrace, extend and extinguish routine on Microsoft. I hope I live to see that day.

      Well, it should certainly be embarrassing for the IE development group at MS to have their Arch Nemesis add these features to their product. Chair throwing time? But what could be holding Microsoft back? It's not like they don't hire phd coders just like Google, both places are swimming in overachievers. Must be a management problem...

      • 8 hours a week (Score:2, Insightful)

        by MozeeToby (1163751)

        It's the 8 hours a week that really powers Google's innovation. For those who don't know, Google employees are supposed to dedicate 8 hours a week of company time to some personal project. Those 8 hours have been responsible for Docs, gMail, Maps, Earth, code search, scholar search, etc., etc. People have ideas, give your employees a chance to explore them a bit and you might be surprised what they come up with on their own.

        • Re:8 hours a week (Score:5, Informative)

          by icebraining (1313345) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @07:52PM (#29510219) Homepage

          Actually, no.

          Google Docs is based on two applications: Writely, by Upstartle, and XL2Web, by 2Web Technologies.
          Google Earth was originally named Earth Viewer and it was created by Keyhole, inc.
          Google Maps was created for the company Where 2 Technologies.

          Code and Scholar search, in spite of being useful, are nothing more than variations of Google Search, so from that list only GMail was truly created at Google.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Former google employee here. "Supposed to" became "allowed to" became "might". Google is doing some cool things (and some scary things), but they're not the company they used to be.
        • by tehcyder (746570)

          It's the 8 hours a week that really powers Google's innovation. For those who don't know, Google employees are supposed to dedicate 8 hours a week of company time to some personal project. Those 8 hours have been responsible for Docs, gMail, Maps, Earth, code search, scholar search, etc., etc. People have ideas, give your employees a chance to explore them a bit and you might be surprised what they come up with on their own.

          Plus, if people worked on these ideas outside of work, Google wouldn't own the rig

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by radtea (464814)

        Must be a management problem...

        Which management will investigate and decide that the only solution to is... more management.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by miro f (944325)

          Actually I find that often the solution is decided to be "less management". Hundreds of managers get fired.

          But somehow in the end, we end up with more management, even though we have less managers.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        HTML 5 is not done yet by any means. I wouldn't even say they have what you might call a working draft. Microsoft isn't necessarily behind so much as they are not working off the Mozilla and Apple webkit mailing lists when they implement features to their browser.

        IE still has a very enterprise-oriented development cycle and not the bleeding edge feature explosion we see in most open source browsers.

        I don't think IE needs to catch up so much as Microsoft simply needs to release an unstable browser in additio

        • by caerwyn (38056) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @07:53PM (#29510233)

          You don't really know what you're talking about here.

          IE hasn't caught up to existing, published, finished standards- that's well before we even start talking about initial implementations of things from the in-progress HTML 5 standard. It's the worst browser in the bunch for CSS compatibility- with finished, published standards.

          IE needs to play catch-up before it can even think about doing anything with HTML 5. They don't need an unstable browser fork; they just need to actually finish their standards implementations in the stable releases. They're getting better at it, definitely, but they've got a long way to go.

          • So long as IE holds back web applications, people will still need Windows. IE sucks with web standards because Microsoft wants it to do so.

            Once everything can be done via the web, Windows is inconsequential.

        • W3C Working Draft (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tepples (727027) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {selppet}> on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @07:57PM (#29510261) Homepage Journal

          HTML 5 is not done yet by any means. I wouldn't even say they have what you might call a working draft.

          In Firefox, this page [w3.org] shows "W3C Working Draft" along the left side.

          Microsoft isn't necessarily behind so much as they are not working off the Mozilla and Apple webkit mailing lists when they implement features to their browser.

          A lot of the features that Acid3 tests aren't new proposals in any sense; they've been around for years. WebKit (basis for Chrome and Safari), Gecko (Firefox and SeaMonkey), and Presto (Opera) all score above 90/100, which handily beats IE 8's 20/100.

        • >IE still has a very enterprise-oriented development cycle and not the bleeding edge feature explosion we see in most open source browsers.

          This Google plugin seems to be a very "enterprisey" feature because it allows system admins to roll out new standard-compliant webapps while not breaking the old IE-dependent ones, all while not confusing users by requiring them to use two different browsers.

          Since (a) the plugin has to be installed, and (b) it has to be turned on with a metatag, it's not especially useful for public sites.

        • by weston (16146) <westonsd&canncentral,org> on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @10:12PM (#29511163) Homepage

          HTML 5 is not done yet by any means. I wouldn't even say they have what you might call a working draft.

          "The publication of this document by the W3C as a W3C Working Draft ..." [w3.org].

          (And the first public working draft was published Jan 2008).

          Microsoft isn't necessarily behind so much as they are not working off the Mozilla and Apple webkit mailing lists when they implement features to their browser.

          I don't work off these lists either, but I'm aware of a numer of high profile parts of it, say, the Canvas element. I'm sure Microsoft is too.

          IE still has a very enterprise-oriented development cycle

          Is this what we call their six year hiatus from actually working on their product?

          In the late 1990s they showed they were quite capable of aggressively expanding IE's features, including new if raggedly incomplete support for emerging standards, when they decided it was in their interest to do it.

          the bleeding edge feature explosion we see in most open source browsers.

          A lot of the features discussed for HTML 5 have had visible implementations for 3-4 years. You could call them bleeding edge in 2006, maybe 2007. 2009? Not without looking pretty silly.

          I don't think IE needs to catch up so much as Microsoft simply needs to release an unstable browser in addition to their platform browser if they want to compete with the rest of the non-standard "standards" cult.

          The competing products seem to do just fine at keeping a comparable level of stability along with the pushing the envelope. In fact, given how much Opera, Mozilla, and Safari, have been able to do with resources that are orders of magnitude smaller, there's really no excuse.

          Except of course if you're talking about CSS 2.1, where it is the best.

          Can you defend this claim? Because based on my experiences *using* CSS over the last 7 years, there hasn't been a time when any version of IE could even claim they weren't maddeningly, brokenly worse.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by BikeHelmet (1437881)

            Can you defend this claim? Because based on my experiences *using* CSS over the last 7 years, there hasn't been a time when any version of IE could even claim they weren't maddeningly, brokenly worse.

            IE properly requires the tbody element when adding DOM tables to a document! :P

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by BZ (40346)

            > Can you defend this claim?

            As it happens, IE8's support for CSS2.1 is fairly good in the sense that everything that is clearly defined in the spec is in fact implemented, to my knowledge.

            That does mean that things that are _not_ clearly defined might not be interoperable with other browsers. That's not exactly IE's fault; it's the spec's fault. The other browsers are not exactly interoperable with each other on those points either.

            It also means that CSS features that are not in CSS2.1 (e.g. many of th

    • by sootman (158191)

      makes ME wonder if they're ever going to release Chrome for Mac OS X or Linux.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by miffo.swe (547642)

        Its on its way to Linux. Chromium has been stable for a couple of weeks so now here is a dev release of Chrome. Works very well on debian at least.

        http://dev.chromium.org/getting-involved/dev-channel [chromium.org]

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by a.ameri (665846)

        Well my user agent string right now is: (Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US) AppleWebKit/532.0 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/4.0.212.0 Safari/532.0), which says I'm running the latest Chrome very nicely on my Linux box.

        If you are using Ubuntu, I suggest you give this PPA a try: https://launchpad.net/~chromium-daily/+archive/ppa [launchpad.net]

        It's daily builds of Chromium. I've been running it now for a week, and it has not crashed on me a single time. There is a x86 version, as well as a AMD64 version, and the 64-bit ver

  • I'd use this new browser to watch Steve's fit when hears google is subverting IE.
    • I'd use this new browser to watch Steve's fit when hears google is subverting IE.

      I'd would then like to see the video of Steve watching this video on IE and realising that it uses the HTML5 video tag and is in OGG Theora.

  • So, Basically.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mkdx (1314471) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @07:18PM (#29509979)
    Google are taking the matter into their own hands and actually putting resources towards improving IE, because they know that MS will not do it in any reasonable way.
  • Security? (Score:2, Interesting)

    Last I checked, webkit browsers other than Chrome for Windows have some pretty hefty security holes and dire vulnerabilities. The question is whether google is dropping in a tiny webkit panel or a full chrome instance within this tab. Their implementation here is very important because they may end up simply shattering IE 8's security model and leaving an exploitable hole in users' systems.

    Google better take this very seriously before advertising this on their search and mail pages, etc.

    • It's strictly "opt in" for web developers, so don't worry, for websites that don't explicitly request Google Chrome Frame, you'll keep the security you've come to expect from Microsoft!!!

      (I know ANY website can request GCF to turn itself on but I just wanted to make that little joke.)

    • by Joe Snipe (224958)

      The plugin is intended as a workaround for IE6; I'm sure however this plugin is impletmented IE6 will end up being less buggy for it.

    • Re:Security? (Score:4, Informative)

      by robmv (855035) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @07:51PM (#29510213)

      From Chrome Frame Developer's Guide [google.com]:

      Note: forcing websites into Google Chrome Frame with these techniques may lead to unexpected behavior. Google Chrome Frame will fetch URLs using the host browser's network stack, so the web site will send content intended for the host browser

      So it looks they are only replacing the renderer and not the networking and other internal parts of IE, so it will behave remotely as a real IE, only that the content is displayed by the plugin. This is not a new idea, people tried to do it with Gecko, the advantage of WebKit is that the host (in this case IE) can provide a lot, instead Gecko is tightly tied to NetLib (The Mozilla Networking Library), NSPR (Netscape Portable Runtime), NSS (Network Security Services) so it was not practical as a plugin because it will be a complete browser inside IE

      • Wouldn't that still leave certain exploits open, though? The rendering engine itself does have some access to the system and memory model, right?

    • Think something like:

      <object classid="clsid:11111111-2222-3333-4444-555555555555" id="GoogleChromeFrame" width="100%" height="100%" codebase="http://google.com/GoogleChromeFrame.ocx">
      <param name="URL" value="http://badgerbadgerbadger.com">
      </object>

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ant P. (974313)

      IE6 has a security model?

    • Their implementation here is very important because they may end up simply shattering IE 8's security model and leaving an exploitable hole in users' systems. ... Google better take this very seriously before advertising this on their search and mail pages, etc.

      You're right - shattering IE's security model should be left to Microsoft's developers, just like it always has.

  • Don't stop now! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aphoxema (1088507) * on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @07:25PM (#29510043) Homepage Journal

    I think I see Google starting a new tag... "letmefixthatforyou"

  • by Spassoklabanias (1295839) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @07:35PM (#29510109) Journal

    First they ignore you..

    Then they laugh at you...

    Then you make plugins for their browser.

    • by noundi (1044080)

      First they ignore you..

      Then they laugh at you...

      Then you make plugins for their browser.

      It's like the three stages of high school relationships, isn't it? Ignore, laugh, plugin.

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @07:46PM (#29510175)

    Google is the wind beneath my wings.

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @08:05PM (#29510305)

    "IE isn't done till Frame won't run."

  • The only people I could see using this are people who aren't allowed to install / use a different web browser. And I highly doubt IT departments that don't allow third party browsers will allow this plugin to be installed. So this seems like a gigantic waste of time.

  • threat to Microsoft (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @08:31PM (#29510493)

    Boy, the people at Microsoft must be pissed about this. When Bill Gates "discovered" the internet back in 1994, the first thing he realized is that eventually people were going want to replace Microsoft desktop software with programs that run on the web.

    So Microsoft's strategy ever since then has been cripple IE to keep that from happening. That's why IE innovation came to a screeching halt once IE crushed Netscape. And that's why IE runs javascript so poorly, it's not due to bad programing, it's a strategic decision.

    Now Google comes up with a new technology, Wave, that out-performs a whole slew of desktop applications, and to help it out adds a plug-in that uncripples IE. What do you bet there will be an IE update in a few weeks that blocks it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gadget_Guy (627405)

      Why would Microsoft be pissed? This technology keeps people using their product so people have fewer reasons to migrate to another browser.

      If Microsoft's strategy was to cripple IE, why did they implement a modular system that allowed third parties to add their own scripting languages and rendering plug-ins (which they introduced way back in Internet Explorer 3). If they tried to block their documented APIs like Active Scripting to spite Google, then they would be killing off all the other scripting languag

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mcrbids (148650)

        Their strategy wasn't to cripple IE. Their strategy was to leverage their domiant position so that smaller third parties could never get into the game, by not supporting stuff that didn't encourage developers to go 100% Microsoft.

        Sure, you could have a plugin, but who wants to require ANOTHER plugin?

  • by Eric Damron (553630)

    IE's not done till Chrome won't run!

  • by selven (1556643) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @08:53PM (#29510643)
    First, sneak your interface into the browser, then you could change the Windows desktop environment, then change the kernel and before you know it we're running 100% open source software.
  • by Cow Jones (615566) on Tuesday September 22, 2009 @09:41PM (#29510951)

    This whole thing should be very embarrassing for Microsoft... but apparently it isn't. Microsoft is co-sponsoring a conference about SVG [ajaxian.com], which is being held in Google's Mountain View complex, of all places. That in itself is disturbing enough, but to think that the one company that's prevented SVG from gaining traction on the web is now pretending to be interested in SVG (as opposed to promoting their Silverlight tool as the only *real* solution) is, excuse me, fucked up.

    If they really want to help the advancement of SVG, they should finally release a browser which implements it natively. Apparently every other browser vendor can do it. For IE, at the moment, we have to rely on a fragile JavaScript/Flash workaround [google.com] provided by Google.

    I'm really not ranting about Microsoft just for the fun of it; I'm usually pragmatic, bordering on stoic. But I (like many others here) have spent weeks and months trying to work around Microsoft products' shortcomings, and this kind of hypocrisy is making me angry.

    CJ

    • by Tumbleweed (3706)

      But I (like many others here) have spent weeks and months trying to work around Microsoft products' shortcomings, and this kind of hypocrisy is making me angry.

      We don't like you when you're angry.

  • This is Google at its best, IE is the lowers common denominator when it comes to browsers and Microsoft knows it.

    Microsoft is not fixing IE to slow Google down in the WebApp space.

    This is Google's shots across the bowel. Basically fix Microsoft or we will.

    Chrome was shot one, develop a browser that's half done.
    That does the things IE can not do, speed and standards.

    This is shot two, A plugin which users hate installing, I need a plugin to use Google Wave? How come I don't need it with Firefox,Chrome,etc?

    I b

  • > Google Chrome Frame is an early-stage open source plug-in

    But where can I get the source code of the plugin itself? (I mean, not the rendering engine for this plugin, but the IE plugin part that glues it to IE)
    Can't find it in the Google Code page.

  • Sure it's evil, but it's my favorite kind of evil.

    Now if only they bundle this with manufactures.

  • I'm amazed that nobody else has commented on how huge a deal this is. Microsoft are *not* going to be happy.

    Google have basically said that it's too much of a nuisance to develop for IE. They want to focus their development on a single web platform, and released a tool to allow them to do that.

    But what nobody seems to be mentioning is how this could transform the browser wars. If Google take the logical next step of releasing this as a general purpose development tool, there's no need to develop for IE a

  • I wonder what percentage of IE6 users have the authority to install an ActiveX control on their system.

  • FireFox have like serious issues when dealing with JavaScript. I use it in Windows and Linux, just awful for some stuff i use.

    For example, try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_j%C5%8Dy%C5%8D_kanji [wikipedia.org]

    If you try to sort by the first column for example (#), in Firefox it just stops responding and CPU is at 100%. This happens in Windows and Linux.

    If i use Chrome, it takes maybe 2-3 seconds to sort everything? Even using the development snapshot in Linux for Chrome, just works, fast. So it is not the OS but the

    • "FireFox have like serious issues when dealing with JavaScript. I use it in Windows and Linux, just awful for some stuff i use. For example, try kangi [wikipedia.org] If you try to sort by the first column for example (#), in Firefox it just stops responding and CPU is at 100%. This happens in Windows and Linux"

      I just tried it in FF under Ubuntu running off a USB device and - not a problem - it sorted in just over a second. Where Java is problematical, it's usually a slow or buggy site, where everything is stuck waiting
    • I agree with the other response here. I'm running Ubuntu on a somewhat elderly laptop (AMD Turion, 2 meg RAM)... and it took approximately 3 seconds for Firefox 3.0.14 to sort your table. I don't know what your machine's issue might be.

      Regardless, if you're unhappy with Firefox for any reason, real or imagined, then why use it? I think the whole point of this Google plugin is to "liberate" people who are trapped with IE due to company policy, or due to being too computer-illiterate to download an alterna

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