Preparing for the general launch of Google Wave to 100,000 users next week, Google’s Chrome Web browser team today released
Google Chrome Frame, an open-source plug-in that enables Chrome’s WebKit rendering engine to run in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
However, IE has a market share of 67 percent despite the steady nibbling from Mozilla Firefox and Chrome, so Google had to create Google Chrome Frame as a workaround, particularly for corporate users pinned to IE.
Chrome team member Alex Russell runs through Chrome Frame here:
To start using Google Chrome Frame, developers simply can add one tag: meta equiv=”X-UA-Compatible” content=”chrome=1″>.
When Google Chrome Frame detects this tag it switches to Chrome’s WebKit rendering engine. Users who install Google Chrome Frame will “enjoy modern Web apps at blazing speeds, through the familiar interface of the version of IE that they are currently using.”
The timing of Google Chrome Frame is perfect because Google Wave, which is built on HTML5, is rolling out to 100,000 general population users Sept. 30, or next Wednesday.
Lars Rasmussen, who created Google Wave with brother Jens Rasmussen earlier in 2009, sings the praises of Google Chrome Frame in this blog post, where he shows how simple it is for IE users to install Chrome Frame to begin using Google Wave:
Rasmussen is a lot less subtle about the hassle Google has had porting its apps to IE:
“In the past, the Google Wave team has spent countless hours solely on improving the experience of running Google Wave in Internet Explorer. We could continue in this fashion, but using Google Chrome Frame instead lets us invest all that engineering time in more features for all our users, without leaving Internet Explorer users behind.“
There is probably more to this story than what’s on the surface that we aren’t seeing just yet. I suspect Chrome Frame will be a big determiner of how well Wave is adopted by those millions of workers who are stuck using IE 6 because of corporate regulations.