In case you haven’t heard, Google just debuted Google Chrome Frame; allowing developers to run the Google Chrome rendering engine inside IE as a plugin and thereby trumping IE.
Reading blogs like this one, I distinctly get the feeling that most of the tech journalists out there don’t understand what this is really all about. This is not about Google being annoyed with old versions of IE, it’s about HTML5 vs. Silverlight vs. Flash. Right now HTML5 has 3 big disadvantages over their plugin counterparts…
- Different browsers will implement HTML5 differently. Even if it is standards based.
- Most browsers don’t support HTML5 and getting a user to switch browsers is a lot harder than getting them to install a plugin.
- Standards based innovation is slow. HTML5 in its entirety should be ready for browsers to implement in 2012; just in time to be as far behind Flash and Silverlight as HTML4 is today.
In the end, there are only 2 ways around all of these disadvantages:
- Either get everyone to use your browser or
- Run everything thru a plugin.
Google Chrome (the browser) and Google Chrome Frame together make it possible for developers to write and test code in an IE-less world, thereby getting more developers to care about Chrome, less to care about IE, and more to choose HTML5 as a framework to develop apps on.
Right now the plugin is an ActiveX plugin and therefore only works on IE, but give Google some time and I’m sure they’ll have a Netscape plugin too that will work in Safari and Firefox. It’s only a matter of time before you Google will be nearly in complete control over how HTML5 will be rendered (if the developer chooses so) and thereby won’t need to wait on a standards committe to approve further innovation to HTML.
Of course, the picture is even bigger than that… whoever owns the developers will own the dominant OS. In my opinion, this is all a tactic in the Android/Chrome OS vs. iApple vs. Windows war and the reason Google built Chrome in the first place.