I just read that Google is set to release and open source an Internet Explorer (IE) plug-in that allows IE to use Google Chrome’s HTML rendering and JavaScript engine. Ars Technica writes:

“Google hopes that delivering Chrome’s rendering engine in an IE plug-in will provide a pragmatic compromise for users who can’t upgrade. Web developers will be able to use an X-UA-Compatible meta tag to specify that their page should be displayed with the Chrome renderer plug-in instead of using Internet Explorer’s Trident engine. This approach will ensure that the Chrome engine is only used when it is supposed to and that it won’t disrupt the browser’s handling of legacy Web applications that require IE6 compatibility.”

Maybe I’m being too negative, but I’m wondering what user problem this plug-in truly solves.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Chrome, but its not hard to install and run two or more browsers on a machine.  Some companies do restrict installing software, be it a new browser, or a plug-in to IE.  However, the Google Chrome plug-in doesn’t address this issue as Ars found out:

“We asked Google if it will be providing packages and tools to make it easier for IT departments to deploy the plug-in. It’s still much too early for that, Google explained, but it’s something that Google might explore when the project matures.”

I could see the value of the plug-in to an IT administrator who doesn’t want to support yet another entire browser.  However, Google faces a significant hurdle to IT adoption without tools to deploy and manage the plug-in.  And really, who else is this plug-in targeted at if not for enterprise users, and the IT administrators who provision and manage IT resources to these enterprise users.  Home users that want to use Chrome would simply install Chrome, not a Chrome plug-in to IE.

The Google team working on the plug-in “cited the ubiquity of Flash as an example of how the plug-in strategy could have the potential to move the Web forward.”  Well, until Adobe AIR came out, the defacto interaction mode with Flash was through a browser.  On the other hand, the defacto interaction mode with a browser is not through another browser. Not sure that I’d be betting the plug-in’s success on the adoption of Flash.

Bygones.

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PS: I should state: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.”