We had a flurry of excited developers this morning looking over the impact of Google’s announcement of Google Chrome Frame.
One of the issues that we and other developers have when building our sophisticated web applications, is that many larger organisations (like banks and some multi-national accounting firms) have a standard users desktop that includes Internet Explorer 6.
Internet Explorer 6 was released in 2001. It is relatively insecure, doesn’t adhere to standards, and was not designed for the sort of applications we’re building today. Even with these obvious faults and two subsequent version of Internet Explorer it is difficult to get large organisations to upgrade.
So we were pretty excited about Google developing Chrome Frame – a version of Chrome that is hosted inside Internet Explorer.
Today we’ve been testing if Google Frame is a valid way to get a richer browsing experience inside a locked down corporate environment.
We know that corporate IT shops want group policies to lockdown browser config options in the enterprise. IE is the only browser that supports group policies. Google Chrome Frame does seem to use the proxy settings in IE which can be set by group policy, but this is probably not enough.
Google initially thought that they’d get around this type of restriction in corporate environments by installing the full version of the Chrome browser in the users home folder. This was a mistake because IT administrators reacted with group policies blocking Chrome.
So even if this approach works in the short term, we suspect that big IT shops will block Google Chrome Frame because Google has not implemented group policies.
We believe Google should work with corporate IT not try to circumvent it.
We also found that Google Chrome Frame doesn’t use the IE plugins for things like Flash. So other components may need to be installed.
But this is certainly an interesting tactic in the Browser wars from Google and hopefully will help persuade corporate IT to look again at how they enable access to rich internet applications through their environment.