Chrome Frame debuted last September, prompting rivals Microsoft and Mozilla to blast the move. The open-source plug-in can be used with Internet Explorer 6, IE7, and IE8.
[ Check out benchmarks showing IE8 runs 10 times faster with the Chrome Frame plug-in. | But InfoWorld's Savio Rodrigues says IT organizations are unlikely to adopt the plug-in without enterprise deployment and management tools. ]
The beta is powered by the current beta version of Chrome for Windows, 5.0.375.62, but will be updated as Chrome is refreshed. Additionally, the "dev channel" edition of Chrome Frame was revamped today to keep it in sync with that build of Google's browser.
"Chrome Frame is an attempt to move the Web forward," Alex Russell, an engineer on the Chrome Frame development team, told Computerworld. "We're excited that it's ready for broader use and want to get it out there to target [users] who aren't able to use HTML5."
HTML5, the still-under-construction next generation of the Web's foundation language, has become a flashpoint -- and buzzword -- in the increasingly competitive browser market as makers rush to support the standard, especially its video tag that lets Web site designers embed video.
Meanwhile, Microsoft has been trumpeting the support for HTML5 it's baking into IE9, which has no firm release date and is now at a rough developer preview stage.
Google has been promoting HTML5 just as hard. Last month, for example, Google debuted a new royalty-free video codec that will compete with the H.264 codec that Apple's backing for HTML5.
"We'd like to keep everyone bunched toward the front of the [standards] compatibility edge," said Russell as he further explained why Google is pushing Chrome Frame.