Google sneaks WebKit HTML 5 support into Internet Explorer

Posted:
in Mac Software edited January 2014
Rather than waiting for Microsoft to implement HTML 5, Google has released a plugin for Internet Explorer 8 that injects its own WebKit rendering engine, resulting in a ten fold performance boost for JavaScript.



A report by Gregg Keizer in Computerworld said that installing Google's plugin resulted in an average speed improvement that was 9.6 times faster than IE 8 alone, based on SunSpider JavaScript benchmarks.



Google recommends the new IE plugin, called Chrome Frame, to any users who aren't able to install an alternative browser. With the plugin installed, IE's own Trident rendering engine continues to render web pages until it either encounters HTML 5 or is manually prompted by the user to render like the native Chrome browser.



In addition to being much faster at executing JavaScript, Chrome Frame's WebKit rendering engine also provides IE with support for new HTML 5 features, which are required to run an emerging crop of advanced web applications. WebKit also powers Apple's Safari browser and the mobile version of Safari used on the iPhone and iPod touch.



One example of an advanced HTML 5 web app is Google Wave, a collaboration toolkit for building dynamic browser apps that enable rich communication features between users. Google Wave invites IE users to download the Chrome Frame plugin, or alternatively download a browser than can render HTML 5 natively, including the full version of Chrome, Safari 4, or Firefox 4.







Google has worked closely with Apple, Mozilla, and Opera to flesh out HTML 5 as a detailed specification that any browser developer can use to build support for rich Internet apps based on web standards that don't require additional middleware such as Adobe Flash or Microsoft's Silverlight.



Google recently commended Microsoft for initiating constructive participation in the HTML standard, but clearly wants to widen adoption of HTML 5 as rapidly as possible. By offering a plugin for IE, Google can deliver its own HTML 5 support within the browser right now.



In a Google blog posting, Wave developers explained, "Google Wave depends on strong JS and DOM rendering performance to provide a desktop-like experience in the browser. HTML5's offline storage and web workers will enable us to add great features without having to compromise on performance. 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. Compared with other browsers, the JavaScript performance is many times slower and HTML5 support is still far behind. Likewise, the many different versions of IE still in use -- each with its own set of CSS quirks and layout limitations -- further complicates building rich Web applications.



"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."



IE 8 families at risk



Microsoft responded to the release of Chrome Frame by claiming that Google's new plugin makes IE 8 less secure. In a comment made to Ars Technica, Microsoft said that installing the plugin "is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take."



Despite a variety of Microsoft-sponsored research that has recently declared IE 8 the most secure browser (exclusively in terms flagging suspect URLs a user decides to visit), most IE users are still using IE 6, followed by IE 7, both of which are know to expose users to more serious security issues that any modern competitors. That means most IE users will enhance their relative security by either installing the Chrome Frame plugin or downloading Chrome 3, Safari 4, or Firefox 4 to use instead.



Users of IE 8 will have to weigh the value of Microsoft's security mechanisms designed to protect them from (mostly) overt phishing attacks or (the rare) vulnerability exploits in the wild against the benefits of HTML 5 and Google's 10 times faster JavaScript performance.



Additionally, since HTML 5 is designed to replace Flash and Silverlight, any studies recommending a web browser solely on the basis of security will need to factor in all of the security vulnerabilities in Flash and Silverlight against using a browser that does not need them to render rich web applications. The reports Microsoft cites in favor of IE 8 do not.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    foo2foo2 Posts: 1,077member
    You can thank Microsoft innovation, including its focus on user security, for making this possible.
  • Reply 2 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    IE 8 families at risk



    Microsoft responded to the release of Chrome Frame by claiming that Google's new plugin makes IE 8 less secure. In a comment made to Ars Technica, Microsoft said that installing the plugin "is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take."



    Despite a variety of Microsoft-sponsored research that has recently declared IE 8 the most secure browser (exclusively in terms flagging suspect URLs a user decides to visit), most IE users are still using IE 6, followed by IE 7, both of which are know to expose users to more serious security issues that any modern competitors. That means most IE users will enhance their relative security by either installing the Chrome Frame plugin or downloading Chrome 3, Safari 4, or Firefox 4 to use instead.



    Users of IE 8 will have to weigh the value of Microsoft's security mechanisms designed to protect them from (mostly) overt phishing attacks or (the rare) vulnerability exploits in the wild against the benefits of HTML 5 and Google's 10 times faster JavaScript performance.



    Additionally, since HTML 5 is designed to replace Flash and Silverlight, any studies recommending a web browser solely on the basis of security will need to factor in all of the security vulnerabilities in Flash and Silverlight against using a browser that does not need them to render rich web applications. The reports Microsoft cites in favor of IE 8 do not.



    There is a lot of hogwash for real users to sift through in this confusion. The claim that IE 8 is the most secure browser is a lot like claiming that Windows is more secure than Macintosh based on some kind of analysis of exploits found--it doesn't translate at all into the real world. Fact of the matter is that nearly all of those browser exploits target Internet Explorer, and they're far from rare if you do browsing into questionable or unfamiliar websites (which happens frequently enough while researching). Your friends and family, on Windows, are far safer (I can't emphasize this enough) choosing Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera--something other than Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer is also tied directly into the operating system and includes such delightful exploit vectors as ActiveX. Exploits will continue to target Internet Explorer vulnerabilities, rather than some kind of Google framework plugin.



    Sadly, I wouldn't trust Microsoft as a valuable source on the security of their own OS. It can be relatively secure, with some knowledge, responsible use, and a choice to use safer tools, but depending on Windows Defender and Internet Explorer out of the box is a fantastic way to generate headaches (and support visits for your family if you allow them to do so without helping them to secure their computers).
  • Reply 3 of 53
    Quote:

    Microsoft said that installing the plugin "is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take."



    Funny...I'd say the same thing about using IE...But Microsoft could solve this problem completely by building a decent browser. Honestly I'd like them to switch to using Webkit as their rendering engine, but for some reason I don't feel that's very likely to happen.
  • Reply 4 of 53
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,153member
    Am I the only one who thinks that Google did MS a favor by doing that?!
  • Reply 5 of 53
    Wave is coming! I can't wait for that bit. Just as long as your text doesn't short while I'm in a board meeting.



    Anyhow, I think its kinda cool that Google is doing this, although it does help their own company more by allowing IE to use their APIs and show things quicker and smoother.



    Also, I don't see how this is Apple news...
  • Reply 6 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post


    Am I the only one who thinks that Google did MS a favor by doing that?!



    Yes...AND its funny.



  • Reply 7 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post


    Am I the only one who thinks that Google did MS a favor by doing that?!



    Actually, they are putting the hurt on both Adobe & Microsoft. With support for HTML 5 being now available through a plugin for IE & native in all other browsers, why would anyone continue to dabble in Silverlight or Flash? That's the whole reason Microsoft attacks it as making IE "less secure", they don't want their new baby SilverLight to get kicked to the curb!



    Google did the web development community a HUGE favor, now the web can progress instead of always being held back by Microsoft!
  • Reply 8 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ...alternatively download a browser than can render HTML 5 natively, including the full version of Chrome, Safari 4, or Firefox 4.



    The picture says FF 3.5?
  • Reply 9 of 53
    Steve said Flash is dead. He's hellbent on being right, and here's another step towards his side of the line. IE's inherent weakness (which used to be a strength) is being tied to the OS. The web's weakness was developers didn't follow W3C standards, they followed IE. More good news for web consumers here, we can all finally be on the same page (and see the same thing )
  • Reply 10 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Rather than waiting for Microsoft to implement HTML 5, Google has released a plugin for Internet Explorer 8 that injects its own WebKit rendering engine, resulting in a ten fold performance boost for JavaScript.



    Hahahaha!



    I heard some more chairs were being thrown around in Redmond as Ballmer takes another Google sh*t fit!







    Quote:

    Microsoft responded to the release of Chrome Frame by claiming that Google's new plugin makes IE 8 less secure. In a comment made to Ars Technica, Microsoft said that installing the plugin "is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take."





    If Microsoft had any friends and family they really cared about, they would recommend OS X or Linux.









    PSST! Intel demonstration running OS X on a HACKINTOSH!!



    Does this mean Apple may be releasing OS X separate from hardware soon?





    http://www.engadget.com/2009/09/24/v...le-transferri/
  • Reply 11 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    If Microsoft had any friends and family they really cared about, they would recommend OS X or Linux.



    Thanks for the laugh. I needed that.
  • Reply 12 of 53
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,209moderator
    I'm sure the reaction from most people outside of Microsoft would be positive and this is why I think the W3C should enforce an implementation not a specification. Make Microsoft use Webkit or block their browser from being able to access web content. It's the only way they will stop holding everyone back from a better web experience. I doubt FF or Opera devs would be averse to the move.



    The browser choice for most people comes down to features not the render engine - it's expected that the browser should render pages correctly.
  • Reply 13 of 53
    I can't help but feel that a large part of the decision to do this was based on a desire to piss Microsoft off!
  • Reply 14 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Microsoft responded to the release of Chrome Frame by claiming that Google's new plugin makes IE 8 less secure. In a comment made to Ars Technica, Microsoft said that installing the plugin "is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take."



    Installing any plugin is potentially dangerous, thus installing Flash or Silverlight is equally dangerous.

    MS has a point that MS might be responsible for keeping MS software on your computer up-to-date but is much less responsible for plugins being up-to-date. But this naturally equally applies to Flash. And MS has not yet discouraged people from installing the Flash plugin.
  • Reply 15 of 53
    cmf2cmf2 Posts: 1,427member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    PSST! Intel demonstration running OS X on a HACKINTOSH!!



    Does this mean Apple may be releasing OS X separate from hardware soon?





    http://www.engadget.com/2009/09/24/v...le-transferri/



    Not at all, but Light Peak should have a lot of potential.
  • Reply 16 of 53
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


    I'm sure the reaction from most people outside of Microsoft would be positive and this is why I think the W3C should enforce an implementation not a specification. Make Microsoft use Webkit or block their browser from being able to access web content. It's the only way they will stop holding everyone back from a better web experience. I doubt FF or Opera devs would be averse to the move.



    The browser choice for most people comes down to features not the render engine - it's expected that the browser should render pages correctly.



    And how is the W3C going to force Microsoft to do anything, and how would they block any browser from accessing web content? W3C only suggests standards.



    Even if this were possible, you advocate blocking more than 50% of web users from the web?
  • Reply 17 of 53
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PaulMJohnson View Post


    I can't help but feel that a large part of the decision to do this was based on a desire to piss Microsoft off!



    According to the developers, it was the constant "fixing" of their new products to run on MSIE (in other words Microsoft pissing *them* off), that was at the root of it. It turned out to just be simpler to replace their rendering engine than try to work around it.



    I can't think that half of the tech world isn't laughing up their sleeves at Microsoft today after hearing this news though, Google developers included.



    Microsoft's products, especially MSIE have always been a joke to most serious tech folks, but lately they are looking like idiots even to the average person in the street. It will be hard, even for the Microsoft apologists to argue that we wouldn't all be better off if Microsoft just gave in on the whole "we run the web" issue.
  • Reply 18 of 53
    And I love it. Can Goog fix their server software for them too?
  • Reply 19 of 53
    That came out already? Groovy because I thought it was like a year away...
  • Reply 20 of 53
    Anyone knows how to make a pop-up like this on your own website (just changing the Wave name to your own website) ?? - Would be great! Anyone seen the relevant code somewhere?
Sign In or Register to comment.