Microsoft howls as Google turns IE into Chrome
Internet Explorer dams Google Wave
Updated Google is offering a new Internet Explorer plug-in that turns Microsoft's browser into a Google browser. And in predictable fashion, Microsoft is peeved.
"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."
And by adding a new tag, other developers can run their web applications on Google's new turn-IE-into-Chrome plug-in.
"Given the security issues with plug-ins in general and Google Chrome in particular, Google Chrome Frame running as a plug-in has doubled the attack area for malware and malicious scripts. This is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take."
Microsoft may have a point that running a browser inside a browser expands the attack surface area. But it's a small one. "It sounds like the Microsoft spokesperson is suggesting that because plug-ins have a history of insecurity (as all software does), then Google Chrome Frame must also have the same problems," says Jeremiah Grossman, a web-application security expert and the CTO of WhiteHat Security.
"If so, that is a very shallow critique. Malware that targets Chrome is essentially unheard of due to an insignificant market share as compared to Internet Explorer, which is routinely targeted."
What's more, Microsoft has a certain interest in keeping Google Wave at bay. And that "friends and family" bit is priceless. And it's a tad ironic that Redmond is complaining about plug-ins as it clings to Silverlight while the rest of the major browser vendors push ahead with HTML5.
"I think Microsoft has a lot of constraints, as the vendor with the browser that has the largest share," Google engineering head Vic Gundtra said at the company's developer conference this spring. "They have to worry about issues that some of us don't have to. They have a huge enterprise usage, and enterprises have specialized requirements. Updating these browsers could break enterprise apps."
But in this case, Microsoft's FUD is chock-full of even more nonsense than the FUD it spewed over the Google plug-in that turned Microsoft Outlook into Gmail.
On another level, all this underscores why Google felt the need to build its own browser - and its own browser-based operating system. Under development for more than two years, Google Wave is a browser app designed to reinvent online communication, crossbreeding email with IM and document sharing. But it can't run on the world's most popular browser. Google is intent on replacing Windows, Office, and Outlook, but first, it must replace IE.
Next week, if you try to log-in to Google Wave with Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8, you'll get a message that suggests you install Google Chrome Frame - or make the switch to Firefox, Safari, or (the real) Chrome. But there will be a small note at the bottom that says "If you want to continue at your own peril, go ahead."
So, it's a choice between your own peril and the safety of your friends and family. Or you can just ditch IE and switch to a better browser. If you're reading these words, chances are you've already made the switch. But you have to wonder how many will follow. And how quickly. ®
After a request from The Reg, Google has responded to Microsoft's comments on its new plug-in. "Google Chrome Frame is an open source plug-in that is currently in an early developer release and was designed with security in mind from the beginning," says a Google spokesman."While we encourage users to use a more modern and standards compliant browser such as Firefox, Safari, Opera or Google Chrome rather than a plug-in, for those who don't, Google Chrome Frame is designed to provide better performance, strong security features, and more choice to both developers and users, across all versions of Internet Explorer.
"Accessing sites using Google Chrome Frame brings Google Chrome's security features to Internet Explorer users, providing strong phishing and malware protection (absent in IE6), robust sandboxing technology, and defenses from emerging online threats that are available in days rather than months. We invite all parties with thoughts about Google Chrome Frame to explore our code and provide feedback about this technology with the open source community."
"world's most popular browser"
No, IE is not the worlds most POPULAR browser.
It is the worlds most ubiquitous browser. 'Popular' implies that the majority use it as a their browser of choice, over other browsers. In fact most average users use it because it is there on their desktop. A lot of these people wouldn't have the fist clue how to download, install, configure an alternative browser - even if they understood there is in fact a choice at all.
Brett Waver wrote: "I await a true pre-emptive multitasking desktop OS... Maybe Google?"
Errrrr. Wasn't Amiga Workbench 1.x a true pre-emptive multitasking OS? That one was written about 25 years ago! The only OS I can think of these days that is not pre-emptive (although it claims to be) is WInblows.
I remember getting the press release for Win2k. Then putting in a floppy disk and formatting it - formatting stopped if I closed the DOS window. Pre-emptive - NO. Multitasking - barely.
As far as I know all the more recent versions of windows are based on the same core of rancid shite that Win2k was.
I heartily applaud Google on this effort - because once users see what a pile of steaming wank IE is, the MS monopoly is one step closer to being over.
@ Kotonoha: alternate reality?
"DRM has never noticibly intruded upon my usage of Vista, and the Office 2007 interface is a huge step up from 2003 and previous versions. Once you've designed a few user interfaces, you will learn to appreciate how incredibly versatile and compact the Ribbon is."
One by one:
Overall: Vista sucks. It sucked when it was introduced and it has gone downhill from there. You may have failed to notice that in terms of sales it only had market coverage because either people HAD to change or it came pre-installed. In general, Vista has done more for the sales of XP and the installation of Linux than any other MS ever - maybe with the exception of Windows ME.
DRM: sure, I love it when my co . . . . . . . . .mputer goes elsew. . . . . . . here for sometimes full minutes at a time during normal wordproc. . . . . . . . essing. I have several times more computing power than was used to send a man to the moon, yet I have to wait for a computer? What for? Animated cursors? WGA calling home to report the competitive landscape on my system? (WGA, btw, is IMHO still an unwarranted intrusion on my system).
Office 2007: I take it personal when someone tries to ram down their idea of how I should work down my throat, especially the ribbon. If you're a casual "I need to type some letters for school" user it's OK; but for anyone who is a mite more sophisticated the eternal "WTF did they stick so-and-so feature this time" search is a serious productivity loss, made worse by the MS "online" help which turns a search for answers into a list of 100 irrelevant hits on the Net. I guess that's the basis on which Bling was developed. I know some offices that switched to OOo exactly because it did NOT have the ribbon.
I really hope FF coders retain legacy interfaces, I really don't know why they need to follow MS in the interface.
"Saying you prefer toolbar spam simply because you know where things are is incredibly ignorant."
Sure. The next time you leave your cave, you could think about the gazillion people for whom computers are just tools. They are not experts, and you will find gazillions who use every program fullscreen because they were never told about what a desktop metaphor actually can do for them. Every single time you change their onscreen experience you cause these people hassle, but they deserve that because they're ignorant sheep, yes? I don't think that's a terribly bright statement to make, really.