IE8 runs 10 times faster with Google plug-in

Chrome Frame instantly boosts Microsoft browser's JavaScript performance

Microsoft's Internet Explorer zips through JavaScript nearly 10 times faster than usual when Google's new Chrome Frame plug-in is partnered with the browser, benchmark tests show.

According to tests run by Computerworld, Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) with the plug-in was 9.6 times faster than IE8 on its own. Computerworld ran the SunSpider JavaScript benchmark suite three times each for IE8 with Chrome Frame, and IE8 without the plug-in, then averaged the scores.

Released Tuesday, Chrome Frame lets IE utilize the Chrome browser's WebKit rendering engine, as well as its high-performance V8 JavaScript engine. Google pitched the plug-in as a way to instantly improve the performance of the notoriously slow IE, and as a way for Web developers to support standards IE can't handle, such as HTML 5.

The extra speed and HTML 5 support are necessary, said Google, if IE users are to run advanced Web applications such as Google Wave, a collaboration and communications tool that debuted last May.

Notably, IE8's SunSpider scores with Chrome Frame running equaled Google's Chrome browser, a solid indication that the plug-in effectively turns any version of IE into the speed equivalent of Chrome itself.

Earlier this week, Computerworld matched Chrome 3.0, the current production version of Google's browser, against four rivals -- IE8, Mozilla's Firefox 3.5, Opera Software's Opera 10 and Apple's Safari 4.0 -- and pegged Chrome as the fastest of the five Windows browsers by comfortable, sometimes extreme, margins.

Chrome Frame must be installed by the browser user, but it can be triggered automatically by Web site and application developers using a single HTML tag on their sites or in their applications' code. Until those sites and applications are modified to call on Chrome Frame, users can manually force IE to use the plug-in by prefacing the URL of a site with the characters "cf:" (sans the quotation marks).

That was how Computerworld obtained the impressive SunSpider results for IE8.

The Chrome Frame plug-in works with IE6, IE7 or IE8 on Windows XP or Windows Vista. It's available for download from Google's site.

SunSpider benchmark results show IE8 with the Chrome Frame plug-in is nearly 10 times faster at rendering JavaScript than IE8 alone. (Lower scores are better.)
SunSpider benchmark results show IE8 with the Chrome Frame plug-in is nearly 10 times faster at rendering JavaScript than IE8 alone. (Lower scores are better.)
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