Google retiring Chrome Frame plugin for old IE

Frame plugin for Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8, and 9 is obsolete, says Google.

Google is retiring Frame, a browser plugin for Internet Explorer (IE) that run Chrome's rendering engine on sites or web apps that Microsoft's browser didn't support.

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Google released Frame in 2009 as a way to help developers who used modern web technologies to reach IE users without having to rewrite their web apps for Microsoft's browser. One example is the now retired Google Wave, which could be viewed in IE with the help of Frame. 

Frame also helped developers reach those who were "unable" to move to Chrome — presumably in the enterprise, which sometimes retain older IE or standardise on one browser to support in-house web applications.

"We created Chrome Frame — a secure plug-in that brings a modern engine to old versions of Internet Explorer — to allow developers to bring better experiences to more users, even those who were unable to move to a more capable browser," Robert Shield, Google Chrome engineer, noted in a post yesterday.

Frame supports IE, 6, 7, 8, and 9 on XP, Vista and Windows and there was both a standard version and one for administrators in the enterprise. Updates and support for Frame will end in January 2014.

Developers that used Frame in their sites have been told to prompt visitors to view Google's site, which points to "modern browsers", including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari and IE.

Enterprise admins that installed Frame are being encouraged either to run Chrome for business or Google's Legacy Browser Support, an add-on for IE 6 to 10 it launched in April. Instead of Chrome running inside IE like it would with Frame, Legacy Browser Support will automatically launch IE or Chrome depending on which website or app is being accessed.

Frame was no longer needed, according to Shield, because most people are now using modern web browsers.

"It's unusual to build something and hope it eventually makes itself obsolete, but in this case we see the retirement of Chrome Frame as evidence of just how far the web has come," Shield wrote.