One year after releasing a developer preview of Google Chrome Frame, an open-source plug-in that enables Google's Chrome browser rendering engine to run in Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Google has deemed it stable.
Google Chrome Frame is available only for IE 6, 7 and 8 on Windows 7, Vista and XP SP2. Check out how it works in this demo video (Chrome Frame is for developers and admins only):
Offering Chrome Frame is all well and good for users of IE 6, 7 and 8, which are maligned for poor performance and reliability.
However, Microsoft just released a vastly improved IE 9, a build that supports HTML5, as well as the ability to drag and pin a Website tab on the Windows 7 taskbar. It really takes care of IE's speed and performance deficiencies.
Chrome Frame doesn't support IE 9, so Google isn't going to win the IE users going for the upgraded Microsoft browser.
So that begs the question: why use Chrome Frame now?
Answer: To go after the 60 percent of legacy IE users of IE6, 7 and 8. Indeed, Google Chrome Frame team members said Orkut, Google Docs, and YouTube have already begun adding Google Chrome Frame support.
Gmail and Google Calendar will support Chrome Frame in the near future to "improve performance and ease the transition for users as they drop support for legacy browsers."
Moreover, Google is working on accelerating Chrome Frame start-up and removing the requirement for administrator rights to install the plug-in. Chrome Frame upgrades will roll out with new builds of the Chrome browser.
Chrome doesn't need to beat IE the browser head to head. It needs to beat out Microsoft Windows and IE installations on notebooks, and possibly tablets, launching with Chrome Operating System this fall.