What good is a browser that’s not being used?

About a week ago, I read about how Adobe is doing an opt-out bundling deal, including Chrome with Flash and Adobe Reader X. What struck me as odd was how there seemed to be no business case for whomever was footing the bill to make it happen. If you have to trick people into installing Chrome, what are the odds that they’ll just magically start clicking on the icon?

Today, I finally found the probable business case. It seems Google Chrome Frame now comes free (disabled, but in quick-enable mode) with every copy of Chrome and doesn’t require elevated privileges to install. (If you haven’t heard of it, it’s an Internet Explorer plugin which plugs the guts of Chrome into Internet Explorer so websites can opt out of Microsoft’s rendering engine… sort of like IE Tab in reverse)

That means that, every time Adobe tricks someone into installing Chrome, that’s one more copy of Internet Explorer that will use offer Webkit/V8 as an alternative to Trident/JScript when it encounters this variant of Microsoft’s X-UA-Compatible:

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge,chrome=1">

Apparently IE7 users have already joined their IE6-using neighbors in being asked to either upgrade or install Chrome Frame when they open up GMail.


CC BY-SA 4.0 What good is a browser that’s not being used? by Stephan Sokolow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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2 Responses to What good is a browser that’s not being used?

  1. Alex Russell says:

    Chrome Frame is *not* enabled by default when Chrome is installed. Instead, the “quick enable” mode is made available, allowing two-click, near-instant use on sites that prompt users to install GCF. But, I repeat, Chrome Frame is *NOT* enabled without user consent when you install Chrome.

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