Google steals a page from the IE6 playbook

There was a time in the Internet's history where a single browser dominated the standards that websites were developed by and that browser was IE6. That was then and to this day, Microsoft is working to undo what it did so many years ago by helping to kill off the IE6 browser. While we wish the days of browser segregation were behind us, it would seem that Google is content with using a tactic that comes directly from the IE6 playbook. 

Earlier today Google announced a partnership with Tate Modern to launch a new web exhibit. While nothing about this seems out of the norm, if you happen to visit the website using something other than Chrome, you are prompted with the message below:

The language of "For the time being" would suggest that Google is keeping the sites complete feature list exclusive to the Chrome browser but is really nothing more than a pain in the ass to those who use alternative browsers to surf the web. It would appear that other browsers support the features needed to display the site correclty but Google is actively blocking them to push its own Chrome browser.

The prompt and feature neutering is a reminder of the days from IE6 where websites were built specifically for that browser because, at that time, it commanded significant market share. Seeing as we now have several viable platforms to choose from, Google's trend to make sites specific to its own browser, is a step backwards. 

Yes, Google can do whatever it wants when developing its own sites, they have that right. What we hope, is that this doesn't become a trend that Microsoft, Mozilla, and Google get in a war over and build their own pages for their own browsers, this would stifle the browsing experience. 

Source: Dave Mason

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55 Comments

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Can't believe a site with Google's resources are either so lazy or ignorant to make it Chrome exclusive only when other companies are doing their double & triple best to reverse that kind of behavior. Even a small site like Neowin has had to ensure cross compatibility (at the expense of fewer lines of code, or even cost) so as not to be a pain in the ass for anyone coming here with whatever browser.

Shameful!

Neobond said,
Can't believe a site with Google's resources are either so lazy or ignorant to make it Chrome exclusive only when other companies are doing their double & triple best to reverse that kind of behavior. Even a small site like Neowin has had to ensure cross compatibility (at the expense of fewer lines of code, or even cost) so as not to be a pain in the ass for anyone coming here with whatever browser.

Shameful!

But they aren't

None of Googles site [ except maybe a few demo sites ] are Chrome only.. They work just fine in every browser..
All they are doing is some enhancements.. The functionality is the same across all browsers.. At least currently.. And even on the sites Google wants may not work fully in other browsers [ Blogger with Opera ] No one has been able to find this lack of function.. they can still browse, update, post, etc just fine.. so whatever features may not be there, are not important enough that anyone has noticed..

NOW if Google does start making it's sites Chrome Only, I'll be there protesting.. but they aren't yet..

Leon Zhou said,
Do I have to highlight the fact that all sites from http://www.chromeexperiments.com/ are pretty much, well, chrome experimenting?

Exactly. Microsoft has had things like this for ages (the Technet download site is a good example), where certain features only work in IE (in the Technet case, the download manager). Why is it that a site specifically about showing off features in Chrome is somehow demonized just because it has features that only work in Chrome???

This seems like an enormous step backwards I do use Chrome and do love it but tactics like this are what drove me away from IE originally. Maybe time to go to Firefox now?

Makes sense, Google Chrome as a browser is about on-par with IE6 in terms of quality.

Google should face the same face Microsoft were going to, be forcefully carved up into multiple companies.

qdave said,
15 years ago Google would be sued for monopoly...and now it's an ok thing to do

Nice site though.

15 years ago google didn't exist

(google founded in sept 1998 )

Completely misleading article. There is a HUGE ****ing difference between "some features may not work in your browser" and an entire site not working. The statement on the front page:

Google has taken a page from the IE6 playbook and has created a site that only works in Chrome
is utterly false. Neowin, please stop posting utter nonsense (and outright lies) like this.

roadwarrior said,
Completely misleading article. There is a HUGE ****ing difference between "some features may not work in your browser" and an entire site not working. The statement on the front page: is utterly false. Neowin, please stop posting utter nonsense (and outright lies) like this.

In other words, "Works best when viewed in Google Chrome" ? where is the difference?

BajiRav said,

In other words, "Works best when viewed in Google Chrome" ? where is the difference?

There are lots of sites out there that absolutely will not function in anything other than IE6 due to extensive use of plugins, etc. that only work in that browser. Neowin stated on the front page, in the summary of this article, that the site would not work in anything other than Chrome, which is clearly false.

Janis Tatas said,
This is a quite sensationalist article, but if you want to understand the reason behind this web 'fragmentation' as you may call it, please read up on Microsoft refusing to ever implement WebGL http://blogs.technet.com/b/srd...bgl-considered-harmful.aspx . Just because Microsoft doesn't want to implement certain standards, and WebGL is a standard, doesn't mean it should hold all the other browsers back

WebGL is a standard just like IE's DirectX filters were standards...it's documented, but not accepted as part of HTML by the W3C.

Aethec said,

WebGL is a standard just like IE's DirectX filters were standards...it's documented, but not accepted as part of HTML by the W3C.

You are correct. The difference is WebGL like OpenGL is cross-platform, DirectX on the other hand is Windows only. My only gripe with IE is that they are calcitrant in implementing only what they want and not what the community as a whole wants. I've seen Firefox implement features before they were standardised.

ps I've been involved in Chromium development so my opinions are entirely biased

Ok in light of this everyone should do a clean install of firefox and use that from now on, ff15+ won't nag u about updates it will be silent so no issue.. either use FF or Opera because they follow and set the standards.

I've been seeing this stuff for two years now. Some one designs a site to "show off what HTML5 can do" and then builds the whole site with either proprietary Chrome tags and/or Chrome-specific HTML5 tags.

So nothing new here for me.

Coolicer said,
I've been seeing this stuff for two years now. Some one designs a site to "show off what HTML5 can do" and then builds the whole site with either proprietary Chrome tags and/or Chrome-specific HTML5 tags.

So nothing new here for me.


mozilla does the same with their -moz crap. instead of just supporting the function thats often at least in design already at w3. I seen Opera do this behavior too, but allot less then Mozilla/Google.
its funny, cause IE9's testdrive loads just fine in Opera, Firefox or Chrome (its just slow as a brick)

Jan said,
The website froze my laptop forcing me to shut down. What sort of website can do that
Sounds more like your Browser has issues.. if a website could ever do that, the issue lies in the tool viewing it being poorly coded..

Ryoken said,
Sounds more like your Browser has issues.. if a website could ever do that, the issue lies in the tool viewing it being poorly coded..

Funny thing is I used Chrome

Jan said,

Funny thing is I used Chrome

Hey, I don't pretend it's perfect.. It's got it's own list of flaws too.. I for one just prefer it over the others

"Yes, Google can do whatever it wants when developing its own sites, they have that right." Pity MS doesnt have the same rights to its own software.....

efjay said,
"Yes, Google can do whatever it wants when developing its own sites, they have that right." Pity MS doesnt have the same rights to its own software.....

so true

efjay said,
"Yes, Google can do whatever it wants when developing its own sites, they have that right." Pity MS doesnt have the same rights to its own software.....

ya but it doesn't count when google does it. Google = Good guys.

If it's limited to web experiments it's fine. Though it is concerning if they're doing the same thing to their products used by millions of users.

Yeah, I had that Opera Blogger thing in mind when I mentioned "their products."

Ryoken said,
Except that it still works fine in Opera.. all they did is put up a warning that SOME features may not be available..

And I've yet to see anyone in Opera show where and how the features change in it vs Chrome, to they must be so minor that even the 7 Opera users out there can't find them

It's not so much the features are unavailable, but rather erratic behaviour. Then again, Presto is finicky despite its snappiness for history traversal.

10 years and still the same **** ? Why is Google so evil! Open Web is the way , stop creating new IE6 just for personal gains and profits!

bogas04 said,
10 years and still the same **** ? Why is Google so evil! Open Web is the way , stop creating new IE6 just for personal gains and profits!

Google is an Evil Hypocrite that promotes proprietary Chrome over an Open Web for Everyone.

In all fairness, attempting to load that page in Firefox 14 caused the browser to hang, and then warn me with a Unresponsive Script dialog.

The big difference is IE6 sites just flat out failed in other browsers..

From the looks at what Google has been doing, they have been adding additional features to take advantage of non-standards in Chrome, but they haven't broken the sites in other browsers at all.. And as long as they keep doing that, then I'm fine..

Now if they start making sites where you HAVE to use Chrome to make it functional.. then ya, I'll have an issue.. But as long as the "features" that are missing are not key in any way, just.. bonuses.. then I have no real issues with it.

Oh and one other note..

I agree if everyone made sites for a specific browser, then it would be bad for the internet.. but with that said, several of the non-standard elements that have been introduced into browsers over the last few years have actually helped to push and finalize standards that include them.. If Chrome, or Firefox, or whatever adds a feature to JS, CSS, whatever, and it improves the experience, the other browsers don't want to be left behind, they work to make a standard and implement it.. I think the more rapid releases of most modern browsers, and the fact that Google is open about what non-standard stuff they implement, means the days of having sites that work in only one browser [ at least for any length of time ] are numbered, if not near death already.

Ryoken said,

If Chrome, or Firefox, or whatever adds a feature to JS, CSS, whatever, and it improves the experience, the other browsers don't want to be left behind, they work to make a standard and implement it.

People don't remember, but one of the issues, if not the issue, with IE 6.0 was the MS implemented its own features. Then those features didn't become standards, which was one of the reasons why other browsers couldn't render those websites developed for IE 6.0. So basically you are advocating what MS did with IE 6.0, maybe not fully, but that's part of how we got where we did with IE 6.0.

DRock said,

People don't remember, but one of the issues, if not the issue, with IE 6.0 was the MS implemented its own features. Then those features didn't become standards, which was one of the reasons why other browsers couldn't render those websites developed for IE 6.0. So basically you are advocating what MS did with IE 6.0, maybe not fully, but that's part of how we got where we did with IE 6.0.


exept allot was already on the aproval list and got pulled out thanks to sun, mozilla and a few more. allot of which implemented back into HTML later on, be it in a different form.