about standards, webdesign, usability and open source

Google brings Chrome’s renderer to IE

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. 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.

Sounds like a great plan but I do have one question: how many people are actually going to install this plugin? Unless the number is ‘millions’ you still can’t afford to ignore regular IE6 users. The only way I can see this succeed somewhat is if Google starts pushing this plugin as a requirement for many of its services, although I doubt that the individual teams of those services will be happy about that. Sure it will be a requirement for Google Wave or some small features of existing services, but I don’t expect Search, Gmail, Calendar or Docs to drop plain IE6 support.