Feeds

Google to put Chrome Frame to pasture in 2014

You're all using modern browsers anyway, right?

Website security in corporate America

After four years Google is retiring Chrome Frame, its browser plug-in that embeds the Chrome HTML rendering and JavaScript engines inside Internet Explorer.

"It's unusual to build something and hope it eventually makes itself obsolete," Chrome engineer Robert Shield wrote in a blog post on Thursday, "but in this case we see the retirement of Chrome Frame as evidence of just how far the web has come."

Google first launched Chrome Frame in September 2009, around the same time it was betting that Google Wave – a complex browser-based chat app that relied heavily on web standards – would revolutionize online communications.

Wave wouldn't run on IE, which at the time led the industry in browser market share. So Google gave users a way to use IE and Chrome at the same time, by cramming Chrome into an IE tab.

At the time, Microsoft lambasted the move, claiming it would make IE inherently less secure.

"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," Microsoft wrote in a statement. "This is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take."

Security experts doubted the risk, especially given how notoriously vulnerable IE was already. And Jeremiah Grossman of WhiteHat Security pooh-poohed the idea of Chrome-specific malware to The Reg, citing its "insignificant market share."

These days, of course, many metrics show Chrome as the leading web browser. And although IE's share has declined, even IE 10 performs far better with respect to web standards than did IE 8 in 2009.

"Today, most people are using modern browsers that support the majority of the latest web technologies," Shield wrote. "Better yet, the usage of legacy browsers is declining significantly and newer browsers stay up to date automatically, which means the leading edge has become mainstream."

For these reasons, Shield said, Google has decided that Chrome Frame is no longer necessary. As an alternative, he recommends you install Chrome or some other standards-compliant browser – or, if you still need to run certain web apps on an older browser, Shield recommends you use Chrome's Legacy Browser Support, which can be used to maintain a list of sites that should launch in a secondary browser, such as (shudder) IE 6.

Google says it will continue to maintain Chrome Frame throughout 2013, but it will cease all support and updates for it in January 2014. ®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
Profitless Twitter: We're looking to raise $1.5... yes, billion
We'll spend the dosh on transactions, biz stuff 'n' sh*t
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.