In association with heise online

25 September 2009, 11:32

Microsoft warns of Google's Chrome plug-in

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • submit to slashdot
  • StumbleUpon
  • submit to reddit

Google Chrome logo For security reasons, Microsoft has advised against installing Google's Chrome Frame, a plug-in that allows Chrome's rendering engine to be used inside of Internet Explorer. In an interview, a Microsoft spokesperson told US news site Ars Technica that, "With Internet Explorer 8, we made significant advancements and updates to make the browser safer for our customers". The spokesperson said, "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 attach area for malware and malicious scripts", referring to such phishing and malware studies like those by NSS Labs which say that Internet Explorer is the most secure browser.

Microsoft's statement has already triggered some controversial responses. For instance, the Ars Technica article points out that Chrome was the only browser left standing after day one of the Pwn2own security competition – unlike Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. For the obsolete Internet Explorer 6 and IE7, which are considered unsafe and are also suitable for Chrome Frame, the plug-in is even likely to improve security levels.

According to Google, Chrome Frame was developed because the Microsoft browser lacks HTML5 capabilities. In a post on the Google Wave Developer Blog, Google Wave developer Lars Rasmussen said that, particularly when working on Google Wave, developers noticed that Internet Explorer has not kept up with recent developments in web technology. Its JavaScript performance is also far too slow, he said. Participants in the extended beta testing of Wave that starts next week will need to switch to Chrome, Safari or Firefox, or install Chrome Frame. According to the blog, Google is releasing the plug-in so that the Google Wave team no longer has to spend many hours adapting Wave for Internet Explorer and in future can focus on improving Wave for all users.

Some observers suspect that the real reason for Microsoft's warning is that the software giant intends to protect its own Internet Explorer platform from third party influence – and weaken its much-noticed competitor, Wave, in the process. Incidentally, the IE Tab Internet Explorer add-on for Firefox has existed for years – without causing anybody in the Mozilla community any major problems.


Print Version | Send by email | Permalink:

  • July's Community Calendar

The H Open

The H Security

The H Developer

The H Internet Toolkit