[Internet Explorer] Bring HTML5 functionality to IE with Chrome Frame

Chrome Frame is an add-on for Internet Explorer that brings advanced browsing functionality and support for open web standards to Internet Explorer. More specifically, Chrome Frame allows Internet Explorer to render HTML5 just like it would on Google Chrome.

Chrome Frame is possibly the most unobtrusive add-on I’ve ever seen. Once installed, it just works — there is no need for you to do anything. When you visit a website that supports Chrome Frame, Chrome Frame automatically goes into action. In fact it was difficult to get a screen shot for you because it it is hard to tell the different between just IE and IE with Chrome Frame — there’s no flashy button on your bar, and no special settings to set up or change once it’s been installed. In fact, if it’s working properly you’ll never know it’s there.

In order to grab a screenshot for you with the only real proof, I had to find an HTML5 website, and right click in the window. In non-HTML5 websites, that little “About Chrome Frame” button doesn’t exist in your context menu. And the add-on itself might as well not exist, too, since it only activates when you view a website using HTML5, and at all other times is essentially dormant within IE. As a test, I uninstalled the add-on and checked out the same website again. It turned out to be a mess in IE without Chrome Frame — paragraph breaks weren’t done properly, some of the bold and italics didn’t seem to work the right way, and the spacing on the page was wrong. Reinstalled the add-on, reloaded the page, and it looked just as it does in my screenshot.

Until Microsoft decides to fix IE so it can read HTML5 in accordance with open web standards, Chrome Frame is a great stop-gap add-on. Go ahead and install it – you probably won’t ever notice it’s there.

Price: Free

Version reviewed: 6.0.472.63

Requires: Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8 – Windows XP, Vista, 7

Chrome Frame homepage

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  • @Samuel: Those look great! I’ll put them on my list. :)

  • @Kathryn: I thank you for your even handedness then:)

    May I suggest reviewing IEPro (http://www.ie7pro.com/) and Speckie (http://www.speckie.com/home) two of my favorite IE add ons.

  • @Samuel: Oh, that I completely understand. I actually don’t like reviewing IE add-ons for that reason – not to mention that they download and install as EXEs and force me to close IE while installing them, which tends to break my “groove,” so to speak.

    Still, I’m trying to be even handed and reviewing as many Add-ons for IE as I do for other browsers.

  • @Kathryn: Happy to help! Add ons are generally evil for IE since when users complain of IE being slow, more often than not its an add on slowing IE down.

  • @Samuel: No no! I appreciate the extra information. I didn’t notice a difference in page loads, but I’m on a seriously fast business-level connection, so that probably makes a difference, too. Thank you for your information!

  • @Kathryn: The problem is less that sites aren’t using HTML5 (Youtube does as do Gmail and Outlook.com), but more that most sites don’t try to use Chrome Frame.

    As for it being unobtrusive, while it seems that to you that its not loaded on all pages it in fact is. When IE gets a page it has to ask Chrome Frame if it wants to handle it instead, so its really there adding time to page loads.

    (Not trying to be hateful, just trying to fill holes. Sorry if I come off as hateful)

  • @Samuel: True, however I was unsure what other sites might be using HTML5. I did surf around to quite a few and check the right click before I got fed up and went to Chromium. :P

    So, really, it isn’t as necessary as Google would like you to believe – not as many sites are running HTML5 as I would’ve guessed. However, a little unobtrusive add-on can’t exactly hurt, IMHO.

  • @Bull: Problem is that site would be a bad test site (since it’s goal is to make you want Google Frame).

  • Bull

    looks like she visited chromium.org (look at the picture in the article)

  • What website did you test with?