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Google Chrome Frame brings HTML5 to old versions of IE

A year ago, Google announced Chrome Frame, a project intended to bring the standards support, HTML5 features, and speed of Google’s Chrome Web browser to Internet Explorer as a plug-in, rather than requiring users to download a separate application. Now, Google has taken the “beta” tag off and announced Chrome Frame’s first stable release, bringing Chrome’s features—and speed—to Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8, without requiring users to replace their existing browsers.

“When Google Chrome Frame went into beta in June, the team set aggressive goals for speed and stability before delivering a stable channel release,” wrote Google engineers Tomas Gunnarsson and Robert Shield, in Google’s Chromium blog. “After months of polishing, Google Chrome Frame now starts three times faster on Windows Vista and Windows 7 and the most common conflicts with other plug-ins have been fixed.”

Chrome Frame is intended to enable users of older, legacy Web browser get the benefits of HTML5, faster performance, and support for new Web standards even if they can’t upgrade or install new Web browsers—a situation that’s not uncommon in many enterprises and institutions. Sophisticated Web applications are increasingly relying on new Web development standards and fast JavaScript execution, so Google views Chrome Frame as a way for organizations to get into Google Apps and other services without having to upgrade their base software. Chrome Frame works with Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8 on Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, and Windows 7; however, one downside is that users need administrator privileges to install it. (Google also supplies an MSI installer for network admins who want to distribute Chrome Frame to their users.)

Google says it has aggressive plans to enhance Chrome Frame, including improving performance even more, as well as eliminating the requirement for administrator privileges to install the plug-in.

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