I think I speak for all developers when I say that having to develop for IE browsers sucks. Internet Explorer, unfortunately still the most widely used browser on the internet, has failed the development community and the web in general in keeping up with internet standards. While developers can do some really cool stuff with HTML 5 and open source browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Webkit-based Safari, IE misses the mark. Unfortunately this goes for even the most recent versions of Microsoft’s browser.
This is why I was really happy to see Google produce a plugin for IE called Chrome Frame, which when installed, loads a Chrome browser within IE for the user giving the user all the added functionality of a modern HTML 5-compliant browser without having to do much at all to switch to a new environment or fiddle with the default browser settings. I think it’s a pretty clever idea.
What I think is even more clever is that Google is now requiring users to install the plugin if they are going to use their upcoming product, Google Wave. When Google Wave launches, if users visit the product in Internet Explorer, they will get a message that looks like this:
I think most users won’t even blink an eyelash to installing it, and, just like Flash or Quicktime or any other type of Internet Explorer plugin they’ll have no problem agreeing and installing it within their browser. This is especially if they want to use Google Wave, something I predict could very well replace Gmail and the way we communicate today in the future. But I think Google should do more.
As a developer I would be more than happy to install such code on my site, reducing the amount of time I have to spend switching computers to test in IE and messing with entirely different standards, increasing the time I have to develop my app. As an entrepreneur and business owner it’s simply too costly to have to worry about so many different browsers at once. If I could focus on simply the standards and get all the new HTML functionality right now without duplicating my effort in 2 browser environments that would be a huge win for me, and definitely worth the investment. I’d install it in a heartbeat.
So how about it Google? Let’s provide that message and plugin install widget for all developers and make this a much more open and modern web outside of the control of Microsoft. I’m loving where Google is going with this.