[LINK] Microsoft howls as Google turns IE into Chrome
brd at iimetro.com.au
Fri Sep 25 10:03:57 AEST 2009
Microsoft howls as Google turns IE into Chrome
By Cade Metz in San Francisco
24th September 2009 19:41 GMT
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.
As it prepares to grant widespread access to the preview version of
Google Wave - its new-age communications platform - Google has fashioned
an IE plug-in that equips Microsoft's future-challenged browser with the
other things, this introduces IE to the world of HTML5, the next
generation hypertext markup language that Microsoft is, shall we say,
rather slow to adopt.
That, in turn, will allow Internet Explorer to properly run Google Wave,
which leans heavily on the still-gestating HTML5 standard and requires
"Unfortunately, Internet Explorer, still used by the majority of the
Web's users, has not kept up with such fairly recent developments in Web
technology," reads a blog post from Wave founding father Lars Rasmussen
and technical lead Adam Schuck.
"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.
Of course, Microsoft wants Internet Explorer to remain Internet Explorer
"With Internet Explorer 8, we made significant advancements and updates
to make the browser safer for our customers," reads a canned statement
from the company.
"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 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
To be fair, Microsoft has finally joined the HTML5 discussion. And even
Google admits that Redmond has restrictions that other browser makers
"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."
brd at iimetro.com.au
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