Does Chrome Frame have a target audience?

Google ChromeGoogle launched Chrome Frame yesterday. It’s a browser plugin for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser that, if the website you’re visiting prefers so, turns it into Chrome. At first glance, this looked to me like a great solution and a well-deserved slap in the face for Microsoft, but then it hit me. Nobody will use this.

Recent versions of IE aren’t so bad. They’re slow, look a little silly and are still not as safe as the alternatives, but they render most pages OK enough. The real issue to us developers is the continued market share of IE6. Released in 2001, this ancient piece of software is slowing down innovation on the web by not supporting web standards and having all sorts of nasty quirks. If you’d add up all the money spent supporting IE6 in new, innovative web projects I’m sure you could save the economy of a small 3rd world country.

However, I think IE6′s current user base is made up out of two types of users. Corporate employees who are not allowed to install or modify the software on their company computer, and people who just don’t give a damn. If you care even a little and are allowed to upgrade your browser you have a better browser. If only for the tabs. Neither of these two groups will be likely to install Chrome Frame. Sad as it is, Frame offers no real solution to what is a very real problem.

7 Comments

  1. I agree completely. There’s no chance that this plug-in gets any significant adoption.

    Comment by Joris Witteman — September 23, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

  2. Link: Link Banana » Google Chrome Frame
  3. I’m in the Navy and sadly, we’re not allowed to upgrade anything. We can’t have Chrome, Firefox, etc, and it is a horrible pain. With limited bandwidth as it is, it’s really sad that the Navy won’t upgrade across the board. I agree with you. This won’t fix anything in the corporate (or apparently the military) world.

    Comment by Dan — September 24, 2009 @ 12:46 am

  4. I know ONE PERSON who would use this, just because they’re too afraid to switch from IE, but they still want it to stop crapping out. But you’re right. I think I’d install this mainly to stick it to Microsoft. However, since I don’t use proprietary operating systems, I wouldn’t have a need for it, either.

    Now, I could install IE on my Linux partition, install the frame plugin, and if it works in Wine send a few videos of it to Microsoft to rub it in their face, but I don’t think even mentioning the company in my day to day life is worth it, so that would be pointless.

    I think Apple actually causes a few more problems since they’re more about closing off media than about closing off computers.

    Comment by Jack — October 11, 2009 @ 5:40 am

  5. Interesting post…
    I think that Google has found the right way to fight Microsoft…
    In fact it has now introduced the new OS for laptop, with a dual boot Windows 7 / Android.
    Maybe this strategy is correct… because the home user can observe its technology without leave his habits.

    Comment by simplemal — October 17, 2009 @ 5:06 pm

  6. I think you are correct. But their are two other sides.
    1) The people who never given a damn to what they are using are becoming aware of firefox and chrome and market is slowly and steadily shifting.But still IE is at the top.I guess Google’s marketing will improve chromes share further and Firefox and chrome combine share will surely beat IE one day.
    2) Google have lots of marketing resources The people who do not give a damn or corporate people will start using it if they will feel they are missing some thing like Google wave or a next gen web technology and if still they don’t give a damn let them be happy but why other IE users should suffer who wants to use HTML5 and a secure and better rendering and web products like wave.
    I guess world is become more computer literate and steadily shifting to better options.In next 5-10 years you will see a viewable change.

    Comment by puneet — October 21, 2009 @ 7:42 pm

  7. yeah , am telling you here in India (apart from college student who give fuck to IE) a significant number of household users started using firefox , n those “who dont give a damn to what they r using” or who even dont know what a browser is , knows firefox as a synonym for ‘Internet’. so i guess 4-5 yrs r enough to kick IE outta dis greedy race… OPEN SOURCE rulezzz… :)

    Comment by Piyush Tarey — November 4, 2009 @ 10:54 pm