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9/22/2010
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Google Chrome Frame Officially Released

With the beta label removed, users of Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8 now have a stable way to experience modern browsing without embracing IE 9.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Beta Revealed
Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Beta Revealed
(click image for larger view and for full photo gallery)
Google on Wednesday removed the beta label from Google Chrome Frame, a browser plug-in that brings HTML5 capabilities to Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8.

Introduced last year as a developer preview, Google Chrome Frame turns Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8 into a "modern browser," to use the term favored by Google. It allows users of older versions of IE, or those on Windows XP, which won't run IE 9, can enjoy Web sites and Web applications that take advantage of HTML5 elements like the canvas tag and geolocation.

In order to take advantage of Chrome Frame, Web sites must employ a meta tag using the X-UA-Compatible header.

Beyond being a way to paint Microsoft as a technological laggard, Chrome Frame was intended to be a way to allow the large number of IE users to experience sophisticated Web applications like Google Wave without forcing Google to develop and maintain IE-specific code.

Though Wave has been shuttered, Chrome Frame still has value as a way to help Google make its other Web applications more accessible, particularly to business users, many of whom are stuck with older versions of IE.

The blog post announcing Google Chrome Frame's exit from beta makes it clear that Google is targeting corporate IE users. "If you're an IT administrator, we've also posted an MSI installer for deploying Google Chrome Frame in your network," state Google software engineers Tomas Gunnarsson and Robert Shield.

Gunnarsson and Shield add that Google plans to continue improving Chrome Frame and that release cycles for the software will be accelerated to match the Google Chrome release cycle.

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