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Microsoft Using Scare Tactics For Google Browser Extension?

Google Says Chrome Frame Comes with Security

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Update: Not long after MIcrosoft talked about Google making IE less secure with its Chrome Frame plug-in, Google came out and contradicted the notion. From eWeek:

"While we encourage users to use a more modern and standards-compliant browser such as Firefox,
Safari, Opera or Google Chrome rather than a plug-in, for those who don’t, Google Chrome Frame is designed to provide better performance, strong security features and more choice to both developers and users, across all versions of Internet Explorer," a Google spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that accessing sites with Chrome Frame brings the Chrome browser’s sandboxing and malware protection features to IE users.

Original Article: This week Google released the Chrome Frame, which is a plug-in for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer that enables the browser to run HTML5, and (probably more importantly to Google) Google Wave.

Google and Microsoft are of course direct competitors in a variety of markets, most notably search, and more recently, web browsers. Google’s Chrome hasn’t been around that long yet (over a year), but it has already made a fair impression on the market. Microsoft still largely dominates this market though, and the company doesn’t appear to be too thrilled with the concept of Google penetrating it right from within, via a plug-in.

Microsoft told Ars Technica that the Google Chrome Frame makes Internet Explorer less safe for users. "With Internet Explorer 8, we made significant advancements and updates to make the browser safer for our customers," a Microsoft spokesperson told Ars. "Given the security issues with plugins in general and Google Chrome in particular, Google Chrome Frame running as a plugin has doubled the attach area for malware and malicious scripts. This is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take."

Ars notes that Microsoft has a point in that plug-ins can create security issues because they typically remain unpatched longer than the browsers themselves, but the company is probably off the mark with regards to Google’s Chrome Frame in particular.

"As for IE + Google Chrome Frame potentially allowing for double the damage because the browser mutant would be open to a wider range of attacks, we’re going to have to call foul," says

Ars Technica’s Emil Protalinski. "Somehow we doubt there is a significant amount of malware specifically targeting Chrome, and for whatever exists, we’re pretty sure most would fail when encountering IE + Google Chrome Frame. These Web attacks would be written to be able to circumvent Chrome’s security measures and would simply not expect Internet Explorer’s security layers."

Given that Microsoft has the much larger market share, malware distributors have more of a reason to go after IE rather than Chrome. Furthermore, Microsoft mentioned security issues with "Chrome in particular" and after patching some initial holes after Chrome was first launch, the browser has maintained levels of security where other browsers (including IE) have failed.

Is Microsoft really concerned about the security of its users in this case, or is it just trying to dissuade people from using a competitor’s plug-in? If the latter is the case, perhaps they should get in gear and support the latest technologies. Browsers are one market where Microsoft still dominates over Google. They don’t want to lose that share.

Microsoft Using Scare Tactics For Google Browser Extension?


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  • http://www.dotCOMReport.com ppc tips

    I’m voting it’s the latter one. They don’t want any competition for Internet Explorer. They will do whatever they can to try and keep users from switching to Google Chrome.

    • http://www.controldatainc.com/collection-faqs.html Collection agencies

      They dont want the competition???? Google has had a monopoly for years. Its interesting that Google has had more changes since Bing was released than they have had since they started.

  • http://texxsmith.com TxS

    google Chrome is ripping advertisers off left and right, spying on users, crashes alot and has few new features
    (the only one of note is the tabs in a seperate process “feature” which actually causes the browser to use much more resources in total). This browser, by any tech measures, is a failure. there’s a reason why far less than 1% of the people use it and it’s not because it’s new (look at Bing), it’s because it’s spyware and it’s junk.

    • http://twitter.com/flashydreams Jason

      Chrome’s usage statistics are actually higher than the 1% quoted by TsX…
      it’s actually at 7% (last count) and it’s been increasing steadily since it’s inception: http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

      Though, I digress… Personally, I have yet to see any significant issues running Google Chrome as far as each tab as a separate process and I get upwards of 30 different instances open from time to time and still have yet to experience any issues related to memory usage… Sure the browser is using ‘more resources’ in total, but compared to what? Firefox runs hot at 200+MB after 10 – 15 pages are open? (personal experience of course). IE on the other hand, uses 40+ MB from startup with only one page open.

      As it stands, Chrome may not have all the features and add-ons that Firefox has, nor does it have all the bloat that IE has, but it’s a smoother running more up to date with current trends in design and functionality and than IE.

      At the same time, IE is a Microsoft product, I’m sure there’s as much “spying” going on there as there is for Google Chrome, it’s just a different company.

      If Google hadn’t released the Chrome browser just over a year ago, this would likely be a moot point and everyone would be happy as can be. Personally I’d say this is a plugin that is actually in Microsoft’s best interest to keep mum about.

      It’s now given them a chance to have people continue to use their browser, and still experience the new world of HTML 5… Something that shouldn’t be missed as development and usability is going to be coming full speed in the near future. And if they haven’t taken the time to care or initiative to support this for their own users, then good for Google for being that supplier.

      If MS isn’t on board with coming trends in design and usability support when it comes to the browser, they’ll potentially collapse and have only Bing and their OS to leave them afloat. But even then… Google OS and Google Wave are coming soon, and what will happen then? And I’m sure Google Search will soon surpass Bing… it’s only a matter of time.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not a Google Fanatic, but I will given them this: They have a lot of the top brains in the world working for and with them, and far be it for anyone to discourage them from trying to enhance the experience of web surfing of those users who aren’t even using their Browser or services.

      In the end though, this is likely something that will only be used by hardcore surfers, developers, designers and geeks. The average end-user won’t hear about it, and won’t even know why they’d want to use it.

      • Guest

        unfortunately the “brains” google gathered are also under performance pressure, and if they have to come up with a new idea in order to keep their job and feed their family, too much data in these people’s hands ain’t no good.

        i personally know someone who sold his phd project to google and was right away place in the senior level of development, and man, this is one of the biggest a-holes the world has ever seen.

        the google guys might have had great values and excellent ideas, but it’s a public company with too many interests by now, and far too much power and information in their hands!

  • http://www.sitebyjames.com James

    What good is that? Everybody with money could care less about switching over to Google Chrome browser…

    In case nobody noticed… it takes a geek to want to download that… just remember how long they had it advertised for download off thier front page…

    They barely made a dent…

    How exactly do they plan to get people to install a plugin for IE?

    I think it’s probably wise not to rush the standard… Hey… why not do something the rest of us could benefit from… like maybe build us a nice vector graphics compliant web builder written entirely in javascript with full support for scaling?

    • http://www.sitebyjames.com James

      Oh… and I missed that part about the security concerns…

      If anybody noticed the Kernel Security release on behalf of the Google Security team… I think the real question is… Does Google have any interest in privately contacting vendors so they patch serious problems before the rest of the world starts building exploits?

      I think security should be taken alot more seriously…

      I think the boys at Google should buckle down and stop rushing for the spotlight but rather re-consider what pushing the edge really does to the rest of us…

      I think it will only be a matter of time before Google gets nipped…

  • Che

    Only geeks will download that. Nobody else cares. I use Chrome only to watch porn as Firefox has become a piece of crap for online videos, too slow.

    Don’t use Chrome if you are an adsense publisher, like to troll on youtube or have anything to lose with Google. Google needs to be split.

  • http://www.deanflory.com/ Dean Flory

    How will users learn about this plug-in?

    How will users install this if they’re likely stuck in a business that won’t let them install new browers and thus likely won’t be able to install plug-ins either (I dunno)?

    Why is anyone catering to IE in any way? Let the idiots die… quickly. I really can’t believe IE still has the market share they do. It’s still only because people don’t advertise downloading a new browser and why, so most people don’t realize the differences and what they’re not seeing. Catering to IE in any way perpetuates it’s presence. Until people get to big sites that they really want or need and it won’t work in their new or old IE, they won’t bat a lash. If we as developers would stop creating alternative scripts/content for IE then IE would quickly be revealed to users as what it is, lacking in most ways.

    Apple needs to do an ad campaign for Safari, Google for Chrome and Mozilla for Firefox. In these ad campaigns they need to highlight current and new technologies, what that can do for the user’s online experience and then end each one saying that if you use Windows and you’ve never installed one of these browsers you won’t be able to do any of these things. It needs to get nasty. Then when Microsoft blatantly spends billions on some stupid and non-effective marketing campaign it will feed the blogs, news sites and TV News reporters with ammo to reach more people and expand on the shortcomings of IE. Most people that use Windows likely don’t know they can download and install another browser, and since they’re likely too slack to take the time to do it, it must be forced in some way.

  • http://learningcentersbw.com elce

    how about the web owners…it’s any worried if they using it?

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