Why Google Chrome Frame Makes Mozilla Firefox Folks Uneasy

 
 
By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2009-10-03 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mozilla's Mitchell Baker and Mike Shaver both lamented Google's release of Chrome Frame in blog posts. The browser experts, who helped Mozilla's Firefox browser reach 23.8 percent market share largely at the expense of Microsoft IE, are concerned Chrome Frame will further muddy the already cloudy waters of a fragmented browser market. Analysts from IDC, Forrester Research and Gartner weigh in on the messy issue. At the end of it all, Chrome Frame is about helping Google gain more market share for Chrome.

Add Mozilla to the list of vendors exasperated by Google Chrome Frame, a plug-in to essentially let users run Google's Chrome Web browser in the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser container. 

Google released Chrome Frame Sept. 22, arguing that IE does not adequately support newer Web technologies such as HTML5 or offer the performance boost associated with JavaScript.

The plug-in launched one week before Google's extended preview of Google Wave, which leverages HTML5. Microsoft protested the technology, arguing that it breaks  IE 8's privacy features and poses a security threat.

Mitchell Baker, former Mozilla CEO and current chairperson of the Mozilla Foundation, and Mike Shaver, Mozilla's vice president of engineering, both lamented Google's release of Chrome Frame in blog posts. The browser experts, who helped Mozilla's Firefox browser reach 23.8 percent market share largely at the expense of IE, are concerned Chrome Frame will further muddy the already cloudy waters of a fragmented browser market.

Baker worried that once a Web browser has fragmented into multiple rendering engines, it's very hard to manage information across Websites. Chrome Frame, she said, will make the Web even more unknowable and confusing. Baker noted

"Image you download Chrome Frame. You go to a website. What rendering engine do you end up using? That depends on the website now, not on you. And if you end up at a website that makes use of the Chrome Frame, the treatment of your passwords, security settings, personalization, all the other things one sets in a browser is suddenly unknown. Will sites you tag or bookmark while browsing with one rendering engine show up in the other? Because the various parts of the browser are no longer connected, actions that have one result in the browser you think you're using won't have the same result in the Chrome browser-within-a-browser.

"At first glance this looks like it might be a useful option, offering immediate convenience to website developers in alleviating a very real pain. But a deeper look reveals significant negative repercussions."

Shaver echoed Microsoft when he noted running Chrome Frame within IE bogs down private browsing mode or Microsoft's other security controls.

"The user's understanding of the Web's security model and the behavior of their browser is seriously hindered by delegating the choice of software to the developers of individual sites they visit," Shaver wrote. "It is a problem that we have seen repeatedly with other stack plug-ins like Flash, Silverlight and Java, and not one that I think we need to see replayed again under the banner of HTML5."



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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