Google Wave in Internet Explorer

Tuesday, September 22, 2009 | 10:03 AM


When we extend our Google Wave preview next week, we will encourage users of Internet Explorer to install Google Chrome Frame, an open source plug-in that brings HTML5 and other open web technologies to Internet Explorer.

On first login to Google Wave, Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8 users will see this message:

A few clicks later, the user will be running Google Wave in Internet Explorer, but it will be every bit as fast as in Google Chrome!

Google Wave depends on strong JS and DOM rendering performance to provide a desktop-like experience in the browser. HTML5's offline storage and web workers will enable us to add great features without having to compromise on performance. Unfortunately, Internet Explorer, still used by the majority of the Web's users, has not kept up with such fairly recent developments in Web technology. Compared with other browsers, the JavaScript performance is many times slower and HTML5 support is still far behind. Likewise, the many different versions of IE still in use -- each with its own set of CSS quirks and layout limitations -- further complicates building rich Web applications.

In the past, the Google Wave team has spent countless hours solely on improving the experience of running Google Wave in Internet Explorer. We could continue in this fashion, but using Google Chrome Frame instead lets us invest all that engineering time in more features for all our users, without leaving Internet Explorer users behind.

It is remarkable how quickly the browser landscape has changed since Lars and his brother Jens wrote the first prototype of Google Maps back in early 2004. Back then, Internet Explorer was their browser of choice. These are exciting times indeed to be developing for the Web!

Happy waving!

Posted by Lars Rasmussen, Google Wave team manager, and Adam Schuck, Google Wave client tech lead.