The emperor's new clothes; IE7 gets a Chromium makeover

Ever found yourself wanting to use Chrome, but your office is stuck on IE7? Google's Chrome Frame for IE let's you get the 'best' of both worlds, and it's finally starting to see roll outs in major enterprises that need to have access to both older apps and the bells and whistles of a modern browser, Wired reports.

Chrome Frame isn't new – it first appeared way back in 2009 as a way for to access Google's HTML5 powered Wave service – but it's found a new lease of life as a way for corporate users to access Google Apps and Chrome's faster rendering, without losing access to legacy applications that rely on IE7.

It isn't just the IT departments of these corporations that want to give employees a way around hopelessly behind the times policies. Users can take matters into their own hands, installing Chrome Frame on their own.

While Google isn't giving out any statistics on the adoption of Chrome or Chrome Frame by businesses, Alex Russell, an engineer who joined the Chrome team to work on the IE plug-in, says that many companies have made the move. Morgan Stanley is one of the companies that's currently in the process of adopting Chrome Frame. 

“We want users on better browsers,” Russell said. “But when they can't move, for whatever reason, Chrome Frame turns into a viable alternative.” Better browsers, of course, refers to Chrome, the WebKit browser that Chrome Frame attempts to emulate for IE users.

Others have found what might be considered a more forward thinking solution in IE Tab. Rather than bringing Chrome to old versions of IE, IE Tab tries to bring IE to Chrome. Since most apps companies use will (hopefully) work just fine on newer browsers, IE Tab gives users all of the advantages of a newer browser while still letting them access legacy content when they need to.

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft sees things rather differently. They regard Chrome frame not only as a threat to their IE platform, but as a security threat. Since Chrome Frame messes with the core functionalities of IE, it potentially opens the door to serious security threats.

Google shrugs off such concerns. “No one like being told their browser is deficient. Every browser vendor's first instinct when presented with evidence that users want something else is to try to catch up,” Russell said. “Microsoft wants its users to upgrade to a new version of IE.” It should be pointed out that that's actually a viable alternative; Microsoft's latest browser, IE9, offers robust support of web standards, and a compatibility mode to help it run legacy applications. Using IE9 offers many of the advantages of Chrome Frame, and a good layer of computability with older applications, but without the security risks inherent in a plugin that delves so deeply into a browser.

Ultimately, though, Google and Microsoft want the same thing, which is to move IT departments out of the stagnation they currently exist in. With some enterprises still relying on the ten year old IE6, they are leaving the door open to serious breaches of security, and increasingly locking themselves out of the modern web. Unfortunately for Google, some analysts, such as PCMag's Michael Muchmore, have suggested that Chrome is destined to become the next IE6.

Chrome's meteoric rise is disturbingly similar to that of IE6. Right now it offers a dazzling interface and robust support for modern standards, and that's exactly where the problem lies. Some websites are starting to support Chrome before other browsers, much as they did with IE6. This is nowhere more evident than in Google's own services, and it's the only reason for the existence of applications like Chrome Frame or IE Tab. Google has been lauded for their support of open standards before. We can only hope that they return to their roots and don't change that, because Google's standards are just that: Google's standards.

Image courtesy of Google

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Tuishimi said,

Yeah but browsers aren't supposed to be the kitchen sink. When firefox first came out I hopped on that because it was clean, fast and simple. It became a monster. I hopped onto the chrome band wagon... now look at it. It does everything. So now I use IE 9... but who knows... I just want something clean and simple that displays web pages properly.


I want a balance between functionality, good design, and performance.
Right now this is opera.

IE9 is the fastest browser but it is just not usable for me.

Firefox is very usable and customizable but it is slow and gives bad name to Direct2D.

Aerah.Eleganta said,

I want a balance between functionality, good design, and performance.
Right now this is opera.

IE9 is the fastest browser but it is just not usable for me.

Firefox is very usable and customizable but it is slow and gives bad name to Direct2D.

Opera has tons of usability flaws, like annoying preferences settings and a user interface that, despite its customizability, tends to break if you position things a certain way. It also doesn't play nice with 3rd party software and still often decides to forget what program you had set to open a file or if you want to open it automatically after downloading.

Firefox and IE9 had the same issue, blurry font rendering thanks to hardware acceleration. Firefox has managed to fix this for the most part, IE10 will hopefully do so as well.

I think Chrome was crowned the king of speed again just recently. It's still the best browser available IMO. It does a lot of things out of the box and gets even better with a few unintrusive extensions. By comparison IE handles extensions in a pretty annoying way where you can't sometimes even uninstall them, just disable.

IE9 is an ok basic browser but FF, Chrome and even Opera are still superior alternatives especially for the power user.

Dot Matrix said,
Dear Web Devs: I use Firefox, and IE. Not Chrome.

Please stop developing for Chrome only.

Kthnx.

who's developing for chrome only?

Julius Caro said,
who's developing for chrome only?

Google. Not Chrome-only but Chrome-optimized using pseudo-standards.

Dot Matrix said,
Dear Web Devs: I use Firefox, and IE. Not Chrome.

Please stop developing for Chrome only.

Kthnx.

curse webkit extension.

System admin nightmare. There is a reason we don't allow other browsers in our environment... having google do this is just another lockdown we'll have to push across the network. Was hoping this would go away and be forgotten back in 09, ugh.

that's the worst idea ever

chrome is seen as secure just because of its sandbox. The rendering engine itself is the most unsecure among the most popular browsers, and chrome frame run without the chrome sandbox

chrome:
http://secunia.com/factsheets/Chrome-2011Q2.pdf
247 flaws this last year (70 flaws the previous year)

firefox:
http://secunia.com/factsheets/Firefox-2011Q3.pdf
86 flaws (107 flaws the previous year)

IE: (all versions, including IE6)
http://secunia.com/factsheets/IE-2011Q3.pdf
36 flaws (61 flaws the previous year)

so, google wants enterprises to expose users to the chrome security flaws in addition to IE flaws?
with no automatic security updates from google chrome frame?

are they insane?

link8506 said,
that's the worst idea ever

chrome is seen as secure just because of its sandbox. The rendering engine itself is the most unsecure among the most popular browsers, and chrome frame run without the chrome sandbox

chrome:
http://secunia.com/factsheets/Chrome-2011Q2.pdf
247 flaws this last year (70 flaws the previous year)

firefox:
http://secunia.com/factsheets/Firefox-2011Q3.pdf
86 flaws (107 flaws the previous year)

IE: (all versions, including IE6)
http://secunia.com/factsheets/IE-2011Q3.pdf
36 flaws (61 flaws the previous year)

so, google wants enterprises to expose users to the chrome security flaws in addition to IE flaws?
with no automatic security updates from google chrome frame?

are they insane?

are we back to comparing browser security by the amount of flaws discovered? the only real measure is how long it takes to the developers to patch the vulnerabilities since they moment they are discovered. because there's no real way of knowing for how long they are known to the evil pplz!!!

link8506 said,
that's the worst idea ever

chrome is seen as secure just because of its sandbox. The rendering engine itself is the most unsecure among the most popular browsers, and chrome frame run without the chrome sandbox

chrome:
http://secunia.com/factsheets/Chrome-2011Q2.pdf
247 flaws this last year (70 flaws the previous year)

firefox:
http://secunia.com/factsheets/Firefox-2011Q3.pdf
86 flaws (107 flaws the previous year)

IE: (all versions, including IE6)
http://secunia.com/factsheets/IE-2011Q3.pdf
36 flaws (61 flaws the previous year)

so, google wants enterprises to expose users to the chrome security flaws in addition to IE flaws?
with no automatic security updates from google chrome frame?

are they insane?


Oh..sh*t! Someone on the internet who uses logic, not opinion.

*Both* are important measures.

There both shouldn't be a lot of flaws, and any that are discovered should be patched quickly.

Julius Caro said,
are we back to comparing browser security by the amount of flaws discovered? the only real measure is how long it takes to the developers to patch the vulnerabilities since they moment they are discovered. because there's no real way of knowing for how long they are known to the evil pplz!!!

Look at Firefox's security changelog. Some flaws were patched more than 6 months after their public disclosure.

Julius Caro said,

are we back to comparing browser security by the amount of flaws discovered? the only real measure is how long it takes to the developers to patch the vulnerabilities since they moment they are discovered.

do you really think mozilla or google patch security flaws faster than MS?

let's take just one example:
http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=50250
a flaw in chrome reported by MS on july 26 2010
fixed in chrome 6.0.472.59 on sept 14 2010
almost two months to patch this flaw. It is not exactly fast!

almost every single flaw fixed in chrome/firefox/ie have been known for more than a month!

sometimes even mozilla take 1 year to fix a flaw after its discovery. If you don't believe me, look the bulletin release date on the mozilla website and the discovery date in another source:

for example:
this flaw reported on may 04, 2010
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=563618
was fixed on march 1, 2011 (ten months later)

look on this page: http://www.mozilla.org/security/announce/
almost every flaw were fixed several months (or years) after they have been signaled on bugzilla. It's the same for google chrome.

The fast response time of mozilla/google is a myth. Every vendor takes months to fix security issues, as long as they are not widely known (otherwise that would cause them to issue security updates several times per week)

And besides that, the fact that there is a huge amount of flaws in webkit makes you think that it will be easier for hackers to find 0day flaws in webkit rather than gecko or trident.

link8506 said,

do you really think mozilla or google patch security flaws faster than MS?

let's take just one example:
http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=50250
a flaw in chrome reported by MS on july 26 2010
fixed in chrome 6.0.472.59 on sept 14 2010
almost two months to patch this flaw. It is not exactly fast!

almost every single flaw fixed in chrome/firefox/ie have been known for more than a month!

sometimes even mozilla take 1 year to fix a flaw after its discovery. If you don't believe me, look the bulletin release date on the mozilla website and the discovery date in another source:

for example:
this flaw reported on may 04, 2010
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=563618
was fixed on march 1, 2011 (ten months later)

look on this page: http://www.mozilla.org/security/announce/
almost every flaw were fixed several months (or years) after they have been signaled on bugzilla. It's the same for google chrome.

The fast response time of mozilla/google is a myth. Every vendor takes months to fix security issues, as long as they are not widely known (otherwise that would cause them to issue security updates several times per week)

And besides that, the fact that there is a huge amount of flaws in webkit makes you think that it will be easier for hackers to find 0day flaws in webkit rather than gecko or trident.


Interesting that you cherry pick a single patch for each of firefox and chrome, yet give NO example of the patch time for IE. Interesting, or perhaps telling.

Users can take matters into their own hands, installing Chrome Frame on their own.
Probably not a good idea, I'd imagine almost all companies have an IT policy that forbids users from installing software on their own accord, and most of those will have mechanisms in place to actively prevent it; besides, if you could install software, why not just install another browser rather than this?

Google shrugs off such concerns. “No one like being told their browser is deficient.

Does no one else think this comment smacks of childishness? Microsoft says there's a security concern, and the 'response' completely ignores the concern, choosing to paint ANY attitude other than total acceptance as 'hurt feelings'?

Sorry Google, that's not a valid--let alone mature--response to security concerns. When somebody brings those up, you either talk about security, or you shut the hell up.

Google's weird "LOL U MAD" attitude when it comes to every statement out of Redmond is infuriating to people who just want black and white information. They don't even cleverly twist or spin words like politicians--they resort to little more than schoolyard, so's-your-face rubbish that contributes jack to the conversation.

users to access Google Apps and Chrome's faster rendering, without loosing access to legacy applications that rely on IE7.

Neowin. Where unprofessional journalism is just spelled worse.

chrome I like but didn't like the fact does not have as much addons as firefox especially my favorite two addons "ABP" and " video download helper" I spended good amount of time on chrome addon site looking for similar addons didn't find them... so when back to firefox.

I don't understand. Every time there is a topic about Internet browser, people come and promote IE9/IE10 maybe IE11 in the future?

I still don't see the point of it, why not just run Chrome and/or Firefox and/or Internet Explorer side-by-side? They happily co-exist with each other, there really is no reason to choose one or the other, because you have have as many as you want to.

Google finds all the wrong ways to win over business customers. Here are some good starters for every browser:
1) Chrome deploys per user. If a new user logs into the PC they won't have Chrome until they download it again
2) End users can install it - that ****es off your IT. In the end they are responsible for your IT equipment.
3) Group Policy support. You must allow those administrators to configure it remotely.
4) Backwards compatibility: Chrome is not compatible with it's previous versions and a new release is coming out too often.
5) Compatibility with the Microsoft Business productivity suites (SharePoint, CRM, etc...) If you feel that your browser should not be compatible with Sharepoint which produces revenue of 1.6 billion in licenses then you are getting it totally wrong. Hate the game and not the player, this is a market you must try very hard to compete in and you are better off letting the rest of your products work with it.

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