October 05, 2009, 1:25 PM — We all know that Internet Explorer, especially the older versions like IE 6, is slow and insecure. You may also have heard that Google released a plug-in, Google Chrome Frame, that essentially lobotomizes IE and replaces its functionality with its much faster Chrome Web browser.
Microsoft has thrown a fit about this. Amy Bazdukas, Microsoft's general manager for IE, said, "It's not necessarily that plug-ins aren't or can't be secure, but that running a browser within a browser doubles the potential attack surface in a way that we don't see is particularly helpful."
They're not the only ones objecting to Chrome Frame though. Mitchell Baker, the chairman of the Mozilla Foundation, the makers of IE's greatest rival Firefox, also objected strongly to Google Chrome Frame. She wrote, "Once your browser has fragmented into multiple rendering engines, it's very hard to manage information across Web sites. Some information will be manageable from the browser you use and some information from Chrome Frame. This defeats one of the most important ways in which a browser can help people manage their [Web] experience."
Google disagrees. Google claims that Google Chrome's security features to Internet Explorer users," said a Google spokesman today. "It provides strong phishing and malware protection, absent in IE6, robust sandboxing technology [in IE6 and on Windows XP]."
Generally speaking, I like Google and I dislike Microsoft. But, in this go-around, I'm on Microsoft's side.
Yes, Chrome is more secure than Internet Explorer 6, but then, what isn't more secure than IE 6? A better question is: "Is Chrome more secure than the currently shipping Internet Explorer 8?" The answer to that question is 'probably.' But, the best question, the real question that Google is asking is: "Is Internet Explorer 7 or 8 safer with or without Chrome Frame?" The answer to this one's easy.