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Google puts 'obsolete' Chrome Frame to bed forever

Google has announced it is bidding adieu to Chrome Frame, a plugin that brings a modern Chrome engine to old versions of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser.

In a blog post, Chrome engineer Robert Shield explained that Google launched Chrome Frame back in 2009, when many people were still using browsers that "lagged behind the leading edge."

The plugin allows developers who use the latest web technologies to reach more IE users - including those who were unable to move to a newer browser. Chrome Frame essentially lets developers cater to these users without having to build multiple versions of their app or forego the new capabilities of modern browsers.

Flash forward to today and the need for Chrome Frame isn't nearly as widespread.

"Today, most people are using modern browsers that support the majority of the latest web technologies," Shield wrote. "Better yet, the usage of legacy browsers is declining significantly and newer browsers stay up to date automatically, which means the leading edge has become mainstream."

Google said it will end support and updates for Chrome Frame in January 2014. The company encouraged developers with apps that leverage Chrome Frame to prompt visitors to upgrade to a modern browser.

Meanwhile, IT administrators that installed Chrome Frame were told to check out Chrome for Business coupled with Legacy Browser Support, an add-on for IE6-10 that allows employees to switch automatically between Chrome and another browser.

"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 said.