Tobold's Blog
Thursday, December 03, 2009
/wave Google

Google sent me an invitation to try out Google Wave. I tried it. It didn't work, telling me that it won't run correctly on Internet Explorer, and I should change my browser, preferably to Google's Chrome.

Dear Google! You might want to revisit your mission statement. What you are doing here strongly reminds me of exactly the sort of "evil" anti-competitive practices which got Microsoft into so much trouble with the DoJ and other competition authorities.

My Google Analytics tell me that 25% of my readers use Internet Explorer. Among people on office computers as opposed to private home computers the percentage of users with Internet Explorer is even greater. And on office computers usually you can't just install a different browser, your IT services will have blocked that. So given that Google Wave is probably more useful as a business tool than as a private tool, excluding people with Internet Explorer from using it is an extremely bad idea.

Of course Google will claim it isn't their fault. But if everybody else can get their applications up and running on all different browser systems, I don't think the Department of Justice will buy that excuse. You simply can't develop the "next big thing" in business communication and then use it to beat down a major competitor by making it incompatible with their products. What's next? Google applications that don't run on Windows but only on Chrome OS?
To be fair, IE has really shitty implementation of some of the stuff complex web apps need to run, and Wave is one of the more complex ones.
Google Wave is using html5 and IE is not able to handle that at the moment.
It's nice how you mention "My Google Analytics" so casually. But be fair, wave is not even a product yet, its just a preview of a product that is not even a beta. And there is a reason why this preview of something that will only work really in a couple of years, cant be used with old and broken browsers.
As a web developer i must say i find the aggressive nature of this post a bit puzzling.

IE has long been the bane of web developers everywhere as it's a pain in the ass to get things working in it most of the time. It was lacking in support for web-standards for a long time (7/8 helped a bit), acted all quirky with "wonderful" rendering bugs, or just plain didnt work with some things. Add to that a abysmally slow Javascript-implementation compared to other browsers and its not hard to see how it could be difficult to get something as js-heavy as Wave working smoothly in it.

Google even explained it in the unveiling video, saying they had a choice of spending a really long time getting it to work in IE or saying "screw it, we'll wait for IE to catch up" and spend the time developing the actual application instead of battling IE.

And the splash-page you get when they say it doesn't work on IE doesn't favor Chrome like you suggest. It suggests 3 alternate browers (firefox/chrome/safari i think), all with equally big icons, all on the same row. Not "please try our browser instead of IE".

PS. Longtime reader, usually love your blog ;)
Well, have you notice Microsoft's practices since, like, forever? And of course Google will recommend their own browser every occasion is a good one to toot your own horn.
And anyways I use Firefox, but my wife runs Wave in IE without a problem.
Internet Explorer might be used by the masses, but it is really terrible to develop for. It doesn't follow web standards that every other browser does. Something like google wave is typically at the front lines of what a web browser can do these days, and IE just isn't a platform that can keep up.

As for the comment on Google making apps that only work on google chrome OS... Take a look at windows apps (ones made by microsoft and by third parties) and look at apps made for OSX. Neither of those work with each other, and will likely not work on chrome OS. So why would chrome OS apps have to work on windows?
For some peculiar reason I have Wave running on my IE. As I first started it required some google gears addon or something, but has been working ever since like a dream.

So it is possible, it's not as black-and-white as you make it sound, dear Tobold Stoutfoot.

C out
Chrome OS doesn't actually have any "apps" installed as we're used to them, the entire OS is pretty much just a Google Chrome browser window on the surface - everything, bar a calculator or so, is done online using google docs, calendar, gmail, etc.

As for their choosing to block IE users, I think it's just prevented while they sort out the backend - Wave is in a pretty middling beta stage at the moment, lots of bugs, memory leaks, things they need to fix and/or add in. I can see them allowing IE after the fact, but for now, "it's still a beta"
Making a rich internet application work on all browsers is a tremendous task and Google Wave is still in a somewhat early beta.

That said, it works fine in my IE after installing a small BHO (which wave does for you if it finds out it is missing.)

The very reason Google created Chrome (or so they say) is that they are not happy with the implementation of standards in the common browsers and that they wanted a browser that they can actually run their applications in.

I would say that it is actually quite a nice gesture of them to provide a BHO that gives IE users the same possibilities Chrome provides.
Google Wave relies heavily on HTML5, which isn't yet implemented properly in IE. You will find out that wave doesn't perform properly on firefox either, it has nothing to do with wave, but with the rendering engine of the browser.
Also I wouldn't call wave the next big thing yet, if you try it, you will see that it won't be ready for productive use for quite some time.
Wave uses HTML5. HTML5 is a web standard. MS have refused to support it thus far.

That is all.
To be honest here.. good riddance, IE!

It's sad that Google isn't completely browser agnostic, indeeed, but something's gotta wake up corporate users to reality: IE is just another browser, with a quickly declining market share and crappy functionality.
Invariably when something doesn't work with Internet Explorer, it's because of Internet Explorer being a buggy mess of un-secured code.

Also, since Google Wave is currently undergoing testing, it would not shock me at all if some browsers are having issues with it.

It would make a lot of sense that their in-house developed browser would be most compatible with a system they've developed.

Besides that, I constantly have issues with Microsoft sites not displaying correctly in browsers other than Internet Explorer.

I really don't think this is a situation to make idle threats regarding the DoJ.

It really amazes me how many people are ready to jump on google with criticism every chance they get. Microsoft can screw users over all they want and everyone just goes, oh, they're Microsoft they're a corporation and corporations are about making money etc, blah blah. But damn, dare Google to do anything that can be construed as against their policy of 'do no evil' and people are nailing it to their forehead in moments.
The DoJ can't do anything to Google when it works on every browser except IE. Also Wave isn't just a Google site/product.

It's a protocol, anyone can run a wave server. It can have any interface. They even displayed a terminal based interface. don't even need a browser to use wave.

Most of those office computers that can't be upgraded...they are still running IE6. Which doesn't run many web apps. They get simplified pages with much less functionality or a message to upgrade. GMail has this and maybe Google's Wave site will too. Once it's out of BETA, a very real beta mind you. Loading up a public wave is sure to lag many computers/browsers.

The bigger question is. Why are you using IE? o_O
Hold your horses my friend. It is not Google's fault that IE is way outdated and a crappy browser. You can try Safari or FireFox to use google wave without problems. If you want to run a new game but your computer can't handle it, it is not the game maker's fault. Yes, they can suggest buying specific brands (which I agree it is an evil marketing idea) but it doesn't mean you have to buy THAT brand in order to play the game.

Blame Microsfot for the lack of support and extremely slow update for IE. I don't want to hinder our internet progress just because Microsoft are slacking. We want HTML5 to become the default thing and if we're going to wait for IE then this would not happen any time soon.
If you've ever tried to develop for Internet Explorer, and if you understood how complex and demanding Google Wave is, you wouldn't be making this post.

Eventually perhaps, they should support Internet Explorer, but in the development phase, I think it's forgivable if they don't.
Google is going into making their own OS for the desktop, I have no idea why. They did get a lot of talented developers out of Microsoft.

But for a long time I've felt Google's real motto was "be evil", especially after them helping the PRC track down dissidents. you can't really get more evil than that. And they know more about you than most other companies. I'm not so sure they'll use that information for "good".
You are able to install a Chrome Frame plugin for Internet explorer to stay in IE and get to Wave, also if memory serves there is a little link at the bottom of that splash page that lets you proceed regardless.
Just install the Chrome plugin if you insist on using Internet Explorer. It's definitely worth a try, Google Wave looks amazing and very promising.
Why are you hiding part of the truth ?

Google Wave gives you the choice to use Safari and Firefox, they don't promote only Google Chrome.

The problem is that IE is a crappy browser which, thanks to the competition, is improving every new releases.
Can appreciate the sentiment of the rant, but it strikes me that if you are a business user who has IT restrictions forcing you to use IE, then those same restrictions would most likely block you from installing the Wave plug-in in the first place.

In short: If you are on a locked down machine, you won't be using Wave.

If you can install plug-ins in IE, but not a new browser, then at least you could install the Google Crome Frame plug-in that allows Wave to work in IE (apparently, I haven't got a Wave invite, so can't test myself :P )
/insert generic Firefox fanboi rant here.
All you have to do is install Google Chrome Frame and Wave will work in Internet Explorer.
Isn't it more the responsibility of Microsoft to develop a browser that doesn't suck?
when you realise that IE is one of the less standards-compliant browser you understand why Google recommand another modern browser.

If microsoft hasn't started to mess with standards right from the start in thinking they will take control of the Web google wouldn't have to recommand using another Browser.
Internet Explorer does not follow web standards and is behind in technology when compared to other browsers.

Stop being stubborn and use firefox or chrome or opera or anything in tandem with IE.

Also Wave is in (proper) beta (not gmail style beta). Your critique follows as if its a completed product. It is not.
I've used Google wave to a variety of personal things, namely to organize group trips with friends. I disagree that it should probably be more useful as a professional tool.

Since I don't use IE unless I can help it, I didn't encounter any trouble with Wave so far while using Firefox (which is curiously not owned by Google) or Chrome, excluding a minor bug while attempting to reply. Is your IE up to date? As a webdeveloper I can tell you IE6 is the most horribly made browser of all time and often the bane of us web developers' existence. :p

it's still on its alpha stage, so maybe it will eventually start working on all IE versions, including the horror that is IE6. :)

My only complaint
Interesting opinion.
I know the technical reasons why this doesn't work with Internet Explorer. It has everything to do with Google using standards that Microsoft doesn't support in their browser (in their defense, the standards that Google uses haven't been formalized yet). And you don't need to have Google Chrome. I'm told it works just as well with Apple Safari of Firefox with the Google Gears plug-in.

But your opinion stems from the point-of-view from an avarage customer. And to be told you need to switch to another browser to use this awesome new web application is simply very bad. As you said it migth not be possible, or you just migth simply not want it.

So I both agree and disagree with you :-)
The techie inside me screams "But you don't understand the technical aspects!" and the user inside me says "Yeah, that's reslly stupid!".
As someone who develops complex webapps for a living I spend 80% of my time trying to work around problems with Internet Explorer. The fact is Internet Explorer is the only modern browser that has failed to include a high performance Javascript engine.

There are real limitations to what you can realistically achieve with IE. Wave pushes the capabilities of the browser further than most web applications and as a result IE just can't keep up.

If you want to keep IE and use wave then the Chrome Frame IE addon will let you use both. Not an ideal solution but who knows maybe IE 9 will mean that such hacks are no longer necessary.
That's odd. When I tried it just the other day it suggested using either Firefox OR Chrome. How come you don't mention that? You make it sound like they're exclusively Chrome.
I don't see how this is anything new. A company has to make 3 versons of a video game, 1 for each the PC, Xbox 360 and Ps3 now a days. Obviously the program can run on all three of them, but Microsoft and Sony won't allow it.

Or how about how the business world runs on PDF's which adobe would have you believe requires you to have use their acrobat reader.

Or how its very common it only have one choice of internet or phone company depending on where you live

or how dispite languages such as java showing how programs can be developed for both the PC and Mac, we continue to see programs that only work on one or the other.

Has anyone ever attributed any of blizzard's success to the fact their one of the few companies that releases programs that work on Windows and Mac from day one?
I think you're missing one major point - they *currently* don't run on native IE, however they will do on full scale release. At the moment, they're betaing the features, not the supported browsers. There's a 1h 20min video where they go through the expected deals of Wave and how they're going to release that details how things like this will work...
You could always use Mozilla Firefox or Safarii instead of Chrome - Internet Explorer is notorious among users for its vulnerabilities to malicious software and websites.
I know what you are saying and I agree with you for the most part, but the reason IE isn't supported isn't an anti-competitive thing on Googles side. The problem is that IE doesn't support any of the current web standards for doing many of these fancy things that Google Wave is doing. Essentially what Google Wave does isn't technically possible in Internet Explorer because of that. I'm not a Microsoft hater, hell I'm a Microsoft .NET web developer. But Internet Explorer just plain isn't advanced enough to support the websites that Google is creating. IE 9 is somewhat better, but still about a year or so behind Chome, Firefox etc. in terms of support for the new standards.
Well, the first thing I probably did when I got my work PC is install firefox. IE is only good to download firefox after all.

I suppose google will probably claim that they use the standards and microsoft refuses to abide to those standards. They're right and the world would be better of if everyone followed the standards.

Still, denying 60% of all customers access to your product will just piss of people instead of getting more users to download your browser. If it were the other way around an Microsoft forced me to use IE I'd just get another product that does the trick.
/me points at Microsoft sharepoint which requires IE to use.
1. wave isn't finished yet
2. wave works fine with firefox
3. even if there will be no IE support (which I don't expect), telling people not to use IE is like telling them not to use mercury-in-glass thermometers anymore

No hard feelings ... I usually agree with you , but I tend to comment on stuff only if I don't :)
forgot sth ... you may wanna merge that with the last comment, sorry.

4. wave will be _completely_ open source, even the serverside ... you are free to use wave the way you like ... you could even write a client in form of a simple command prompt
I don't know much about google wave but I do know that internet explorer is one of the least html compliant browsers. Perhaps that's the reason wave wont work on it. It might make sense to make an app that works on IE but it also makes sense to make an app that follows a standard like html.
Tobold, not sure why it told you to install Google Chrome. I am able to use Wave on both Firefox and IE. When I first tried to use it with IE, it did ask me to install something called "Google Frame" and suggested I might want to try Wave with Google Chrome. Are you sure you read correctly? Please try again!
They CAN'T get it to work in IE - the javascript engine simply cannot cope with the amount of AJAX in it - hell, Chrome and Firefox can't cope with waves once they get large. They wouldn't have put all the effort into google chrome frame for the lols. It's far more advanced than any other website. they aren't simply saying use chrome because we want to you.
Is this perhaps from Microsoft's end? They don't want Google Wave to work on IE? Wouldn't be the first time MS was the culprit.
My understanding from this Google Wave Developer Blog on IE support was that you will be given these options:

1) offered to install Google Chrome Frame, which will basically run Google Chrome inside of Internet Explorer.

2) given links to 3 popular browsers with better compatibility (Chrome, Safari, and Firefox)

3) given the option to go ahead anyway "at your own peril"

The whole point of Google Chrome Frame seems to be that they didn't want to keep spending development time on Internet Explorer when they could just make Google Chrome Frame and be done with it.
You might notice it presented you with a list of options.
-Chrome plugin for internet explorer
-Chrome browser
-Firefox browser
-Safari browser

I don't really want to be a Google apologist but internet explorer lacks some functionality used in their application and instead of saying "no internet explorer" a plugin is being offered. I don't think you're being very fair here.
I have been using wave for a little while and haven't had a problem using it on firefox or chrome. To be honest I have found IE to be nothing but bugs, lag and a royal pain. But go with what you like I guess. I think their suggestion is just that a suggestion, they know it will work with their browser and they deal with the bugs that happen on that browser. I doubt they are trying to give themselves a "monopoly" with this but I could be wrong. Have been before.
I'm going to play devil's advocate here a bit, because I'm not sure how I feel about this.

Is it Google's responsibility to withhold the progress in new applications in order to ensure compatibility with a browser that won't support their software? If Google has an awesome new technological concept they want to explore, should they sit on it or reduce its usability because of a holdout browser that won't support them - a browser made by their largest competitor?

Sometimes it requires a hot new application to push adoption of newer, better technology. Certainly, Google's going to have a problem driving adoption if they exclude roughly 45-50% of all internet users (IE's general market share), especially in the business sector, but that's their gamble to make. If the application is successful without supporting IE, the gamble pays off - if it drives adoption of other browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, all the better.

Should high definition television broadcasts have been withheld until all - or even just a majority of - the TVs on the market could support them? I'm inclined to believe that, if Google Wave is hot enough, one of two things will happen: either Internet Explorer will be updated to support Wave - and Google will adopt the application to work there - or people will migrate to non-IE browsers in order to use it.

Just my two copper :)

It has nothing to do with political issues or being anti-competitive. It's technical. Wave uses bits of HTML5 instead of relying as heavily on Javascript. IE8 doesn't support any HTML5 features.
The gall! Imagine how upset people would be if Microsoft only wrote software for Windows! I'm sure the DoJ would have something to say about that...
Google is doing this because Wave is a Javascript-intensive application, and Internet Explorer Javascript performance is absolutely horrific. See the second graph on this page - IE7 and IE8 are both orders of magnitude slower than all the modern browsers.
There are dozens of actual technical reasons that it wouldn't work on IE right now. Take off the tin foil hat.

This thing is just now being rolled out, is in beta (or actually, "preview", whatever the heck that means), and (as you pointed out) works on 75% of the browsers out there. The last 25% will be addressed in due time, I'm sure.

And if not? Well, fine - beat them up for not servicing a DIRECT competitor (Hello? Bing?).
I think the problem is mostly because the IE version you are using and not because the browser.

To use Google Wave in Internet Explorer you need to install the Google Chrome Frame browser plugin or you can use one of the other browsers (and 3 options are given here).

The truth is IE6 is terrible Internet browser and Microsoft has been using the http protocol in their own way and never comply with the W3C standards... so now is time for the entire web (not only Google) to strike back.

It is not about Google not playing for Internet Explorer... Chrome works great in both Firefox and Opera, and they are not Google products.

I like your opinion in most of the things you talk about... but this time I'm sorry to say you that 25% of your readers are doing wrong with their Internet habits :(
I recently received a Wave invite and signed up. Unless there is something radically different in your version than mine, you CAN use wave with IE. All you need to do is download the extensions. I have run Wave on both IE and Firefox with no problems. You may want to check again.
The issue is not Google, but Microsoft. Google Wave needs HTML5 to work correctly in a browser, and currently Safari (Apple), Chrome, and Opera support HTML5. Thus, Google Wave is only supported on those programs. They probably would have had to create Wave with Flash if they wanted it to work with IE, since IE is only supporting HTML4.1 so far.

I agree with you on the point that it should work on IE because it is the office browser of choice, but I doubt a company that locks its users into just one browser will be experimenting with Google Wave anytime in the near future. Companies that still use IE6, doubly so.
Why is this so pernicious when Google Wave is still in active beta testing, Wave is supported on IE with their frame addon, and it is already supported on three of the most popular browsers? Google shouldn't be held responsible for kicking Microsoft in the ass to adopt web standards faster with IE. Should they then have to constrain their development to fit within the paradigm defined by what IE supports?

I would wager that either IE will natively support Wave by the time it goes live or that Google will modify it such that it will run in some restricted mode on IE.
Oh, and also, I'm pretty sure the DoJ isn't concerned that iChat doesn't work on Windows, or that Steam doesn't work on Snow Leopard. They won't be concerned about Google OS either.

The EU on the other hand... *sigh*
It works fine on Firefox.

Of course they will recommend their own product, but wtf are you still using IE for? Your nerd cred just took a serious hit.
The pop up should tell you that you need to install the add-in for IE, but that Chrome/Safari/Firefox all have it already installed.

Doesn't seem anti-competitive to me. In fact, I think it is showing folks that they have a choice of browsers out there.
Its a preview. When it goes BETA like GMail and it doesn't support IE, then I can see a complaint. But I think at this point they are looking for feedback on the functionality, not how well they support other browsers.
Actually.. one of the major reasons is that IE is still lagging behind standards compliance when all of the major competitors (Firefox, Opera, Safari & Chrome) are getting much, much better results in standards compliance tests. This is like complaining about colors when your vendor is the only one that still manufactures monochrome televisions.
Google isn't requiring Chrome to use Wave. You can use pretty much any modern browser with a capable JavaScript engine. You can't blame Google for MS not putting out a decent, capable product, and Google is under no obligation to remove functionality from Wave just so a passable experience exists in IE. This is barely the same as MS bundling IE with Windows and pushing it down user's throats. Heck, Google even recommends browsers other than Chrome.

Your suggestion that "everybody else can get their applications up and running [on IE]" is naive - there are few developers using cutting-edge, non-proprietary web technology to the extent Google does. MS is intentionally /not/ because they're pushing their proprietary Silverlight technology just like Adobe is pushing Flash.

Google is actually playing /extremely/ nice with MS, because Google /is/ supporting IE in Wave so long as one downloads the Chrome Frame plugin for IE, which "gives" IE the Chrome rendering engine without requiring users to transition to a whole new browser.
I'm not a fan of Wave, and I'm not a fanboi of google, but maybe you misunderstood the message? The "recommended" option (the first in the list) was prompting you to install a plugin so that you could continue to use IE, but still run Wave. Although it's unusual, it's not much different in my mind than asking you to install Flash as a plugin so you can visit a site with a cool graphical interface. IE is the only major browser you need the plugin for - the app works just fine on Firefox and Safari.

Here's the article with the announcement from the developers when they gave up trying to support IE.
"Compared with other browsers, the JavaScript performance is many times slower and HTML5 support is still far behind."

On the surface it doesn't look like much of an "evil" act to me. I would bet money that they fought bitterly about the decision to drop native support for IE. It probably came down to the difficult choice between dropping major features of Wave, or "forcing" IE users to install a plugin. I don't think it's anything like the the anti-competitive picture that you paint.

Your point about business users is sound - an IT department that has locked users into IE likely won't allow a plugin, much less an entirely different browser.

The whole thing may be moot, since I don't personally know of anyone that actually understands how to get anything useful out of wave. My workplace is very collaborative and on the cutting edge of a lot of web stuff and sadly none of us can find a use for wave. The tool is either way ahead of its time, it's lacking a critical mass of users, or it's a spectacularly useless waste of code. Time will tell.
Google Wave is still in beta, right? I think they get a bit of slack. Also, a google search came up with this from Sept. 22:

"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."

So they are trying to make it work. And finally, that comment about google making apps that might only work under Chrome? Do native MS Windows apps automatically work under different operating systems?
Um, maybe if you're using IE6. IE6 sucks and needs to die ( If you're using IE7 or later, they *recommend* a better browser (you know, one that actually process JS at lightning speed like Chrome does), but you can click the "go ahead" link and it will work, albeit poorly.
Guys, you need to work on your reading comprehension. It just won't do that if I write that Wave tells me "I should change my browser, preferably to Google's Chrome" you respond with "Tobold, you idiot, you can run Wave in Firefox".

I never said Firefox wasn't an option.

And that doesn't solve my problem of using Wave at work. As I already said (READ, PEOPLE, READ!!!), I can't install any of the options Wave proposes on my office computer, not even the bloody plug-in, because my IT service prevents all installation of software by users.

Finally, my point was not that it is impossible to install Wave at home if you really want to, because obviously I could do that. My point is that a significant part of the market is excluded, having an office computer like mine. And that this can be construed (not knowing whether it is actually the case) as being anti-competitive behavior to promote Chrome over IE. So I still think it is a bad business move.
I can't install any of the options Wave proposes on my office computer, not even the bloody plug-in, because my IT service prevents all installation of software by users.
And this is Google's fault and not your IT service's because..?
"And that this can be construed (not knowing whether it is actually the case) as being anti-competitive behavior to promote Chrome over IE. So I still think it is a bad business move."

Even though it's just a beta?
One thing you omitted (at least, I looked and didn't see it; however, I may have overlooked it) is which version of IE you're running.

Notwithstanding that you are restricted to a specific browser at work, if that browser is NOT IE8, then you shouldn't install Wave (and Google Frame) on it. Why compound the well-documented security problems of earlier versions of IE?

Despite your disclaimer in the comment above, I still challenge your assertion of anticcompetitive behavior: Your office IT department most assuredly can install Wave on your office computer, under IE (regardless of version) if it desires.

Is it anticompetitive for Apple to suggest installing iTunes on my Mac via Safari?

(Incidentally, Google recommends Firefox for Macs running Wave.)

It seems like everyone interpreted your post the same way. Google did not attempt to "pressure" anyone to only use Chrome. It quite plainly says that you can use Wave with IE if you download the plugins. As has been pointed out numerous times in the comments, this is an IE problem not a Wave problem.

Your second paragraph is off the mark. It just is. Comparing a product in semi-closed alpha to some kind of monopoly akin to Microsoft is misguided.
In the rage of IE->Bad above, there were people who made a very clear point in opposition to your anti-competitive suggestion. To reiterate that point, Google made a decision as to what minimal level of technology they would support with this beta release of wave. IE didn't make it this round. That technology bar may have been set simply by answering what do we need to get this to work and out right now? This might not rule out anti-competitive behavior or IE bashing, of course, but the point that IE is behind technology-wise remains true.
As others have said, it's not a business move, IE is technologically incapable of handling the Wave web app.
Hoo boy did you stir up a bees' nest. It seems like the collective rage of every web developer visitor you have is being unleashed upon you. Really though, developing for IE really is *that* infuriating. If you're trying to develop for IE6 it basically means you have to develop two completely separate applications. One for IE6 and one for everything else. And the one for IE6 is going to be a duct taped glued together monstrosity that eats children at night.

Even if you're JUST targeting IE8 you're going to run into the issue that IE's javascript engine is up to FIFTY times slower than the other browsers. Yes, FIFTY. I've used Wave extensively and let me tell you what: it makes EVERY browser crawl under its massive load of javascript. If it can make my Firefox and Chrome cry, then it will explode your computer trying to run it in IE. There's simply no way to work around a javascript engine that is so horribly outdated and unoptimized.

Even Microsoft's own engineers are touting IE9's vastly increased javascript performance over previous versions because it is such a deterrent to using IE as the web becomes more and more focused on web apps.

This page and specifically the second graph on the page tells the story:
Google isn't trying to muscle out internet explorer here, the fact is google wave is written entirely in HTML 5, while firefox and chrome are HTML 5 compliant, Internet explorer is NOT, and until Microsoft updates it, it will stay that way.
"My point is that a significant part of the market is excluded, having an office computer like mine. And that this can be construed (not knowing whether it is actually the case) as being anti-competitive behavior to promote Chrome over IE."

I don't think anti-competitive means what you think it means. The fact that some business users auto-exclude themselves out of the market for using IE only nobody's fault but the users' themselves. That's a business decision, it has absolutely nothing to do with competition laws.
At no point did you imply that you couldn't install the plug-in though I can see how that can be a problem on a locked-down office computer. Even then, the reasons for the whole thing being the way it is have been brought up in the comments and you're not even touching on those.

An application like Wave simply cannot run in the current unmodified IE, the browser is simply too bad for that. That means the only bad business move here could have been to make Wave at all. We'll see if that's the case. If IE doesn't get improved, any business worth it's salt (that wants to use wave in one form or another) will simply add the BHO to their default system install (or another browser.)

Google could just as well have published a stand-alone program instead of one that integrates into browsers. (Or simply made a chrome collaboration plug-in or something.) It is without reason to construe their decision to make it available on all decently coded browser platforms as a (wannabe) monopolists move.

In the end, you should in no way surprised by the backlash you are getting. If your post had simply lamented the fact that a business application refuses to run on many business computers, this whole thing would be a lot smoother.
"...I can't install any of the options Wave proposes on my office computer, not even the bloody plug-in, because my IT service prevents all installation of software by users."

So then stop complaining about Wave not working well in vanilla IE when your real complaint is the restrictions your IT department puts on its users. It's like complaining that WoW doesn't run in Linux and it's not fair that Blizzard doesn't support the one platform you're stuck with.

"My point is that a significant part of the market is excluded, having an office computer like mine."

Companies aren't obliged to develop software for the largest possible audience.

"And that this can be construed (not knowing whether it is actually the case) as being anti-competitive behavior to promote Chrome over IE. So I still think it is a bad business move."

Firstly, they're promoting open web standards over proprietary ones. You should sooner be complaining that MS is preventing IE users from viewing pages developed with open technologies.

Secondly, it's hardly a bad business move. This isn't an open beta. This is an invite-only beta where the underlying requirements are provided up front. And really, Google Wave isn't targeting the average web surfer at this point in time, so just because a significant portion of your audience uses IE, doesn't mean they're the target market for Wave, nor are all those IE users in the same boat as you with plugin restrictions.
It's not Google's fault that Microsoft left IE "rotting" wile the web moved forward, now everyone has made progress in implementing HTML5 and all that fancy new stuff wile Microsoft is trying to catch up with the announced IE9 HTML5 support.

By ignoring IE support it's pressuring Microsoft to update the browser into a modern state, which is a good thing for everyone.

Ofc, that won't solve your company's policy use IE, I assume you have some internal legacy application that's IE only or some odd admins, but there's a few solutions.

By default Google Chrome will install even without admin rights, alternatively if you want to stay true to the company policy you can use Portable Firefox that wont require you to install anything.

Getting any complex web "thingie" to work on IE is hard. More so when it uses lots of JavaScript. Frequently what has to be done is to write it once for IE and once for non-IE.

Since Wave isn't finished they may make some significant changes to how things work. Many changes. Many many.

If they supported IE and non-IE during the development process they would have twice as many things to fix. So it makes a lot of sense to leave IE out until they know what google chrome is really going to be like.

Of corse they may also just decide not to put TWICE the effort into a product to support 25% more people (much like many game developers not wanting to put extra effort into supporting the Mac user base when the perceived benefit is too small -- I may have good arguments about why that is a mistake, but I don't have any valid arguments that it is evil).

Even ultimately deciding not to support non-ACID3 browsers would't be evil. What would be evil is to go out of the way to break IE. If IE made a real attempt to comply with web standards and catch up to the rest of the browsers, then tweeking Wave to break the new IE would count as evil.
Who still uses IE....honestly..
I don't know if this is related or not but I want to pick up another computer just to try out Chrome OS.
Simple matter of IE not supporting some W3C standard that Google Wave requires. What version of IE are you running? Does it really not work on the latest? Also, I liked the point an earlier commenter made on the fact that Wave is a beta app at best. I think you're being over-sensitive. :)
What Chris said ;)

More interesting is what exactly is Wave for? I got an invite through Keen's site and I have had a quickl ook, but I am failing to see the amazingness. Is it mainly a project management tool?
A lot of IE hate here. Kinda funny really, as IE is the business standard for most of our web customers.

I see a lot of people "complaining" that IE does not support HTML5. Yet unless my sources are wrong, HTML5 is still in draft and not the accepted standard - therefore IE would be the one in compliance with the current accepted standard.

And I personally avoid Google products because of various revelations about what Google does with information they collect, the "flu trends" issue.
I think you might have to READ, READ, READ what people are saying too Tobold.

There is no anti competitive behaviour in having an open standard (HTML 5) and then developing a system that only works with products that support the open standard. Anyone else can also develop a product that works with the open standard and then users of that product can also use your system.

There is absolutely nothing anti competitive there. It might be "dumb" to exclude the users of IE, or might be that the additional cost of implementing the system so that it supports IE is not worth the potential benefit that they gain by doing so.
I will say that IE is terrible... absolutely terrible. And thus I'm in two minds about Google not supporting it.

On one side, I think it's good that they sticking up for things and trying to get people to stop using that awful browser.

On the other side, I think they are being just as bad as Microsoft and trying to push their own software.

Either way, it works fine in Firefox and thats way better than Chrome :)
Honestly Google's "mission statement" for stuff like this is "push web standards forward". Their browser Chrome started out as a project to build a super fast javascript engine. They succeeded and realize other stuff about a browser needed improvement so didn't stop at just a javascript engine and went for building and entire browser (note they did not write a new rendering engine, they just used webkit). Their engine is so must faster Microsoft is being forced to make their javascript engine in IE9 a very high priority. Thanks Google?

For Wave, google is building an edge of the envelope web application, which inherently means heavy javascript. IE is so crappy in this area it’s no surprise Google cannot openly recommend it. That’ll be fixed with IE9 which will be available long before any production version of Wave hits the streets.
Aah! I don't want to see this side of Tobold! :P Breaks the illusion of a sane and wise blogger.

Posts on WoW and Games = Great stuff
Posts on Google =

Rant on stuff you know about and readers will be happy ;).
It won't work without html5. IE doesn't support html5. And it's labeled "beta" for a reason.

It's not a conspiracy, no need to revert into grouchy old man mode.
as many have mentioned, IE is utter and complete crap. i develop web software for a living, and trying to make our stuff work IE 6-8 is a NIGHTMARE. biggest problem is people still don't know how bad it is (Tobold included, apparently), and still use it in huge numbers. i think Google has every right to push people away from IE until Microsoft is willing to comply with the standards that the rest of the entire freaking world has agreed upon.

i will say that IE 8 is light years ahead of IE 7, which was light years ahead of IE 6. still. it's crap.
Something that hasn't come up in these comments, but is only tangentially related to this post is that Wave and the Google Wave HTML UI are kind of two different things. Although I don't know if there is an official name, the Web UI which everyone is discussing as Wave isn't part of what Google is planning on releasing Open Source (as far as I hear). Apparently the protocol and server implementation are released already, but the web UI is an undocumented UI that doesn't speak Wave, but a translation for/through AJAX. There are other Wave UI's that aren't the Google Wave HTML UI, although so much of the "why would I use this" IS in the GWHTMLUI (what a mouth full).

Not much use to you since that's what you were offered a beta invite to, but just more information for everyone talking about it.
Lol, the wraith of google fanboys has been unleashed on ya, Tobold. It reminds me of the fanboys who lost their cool whenever anyone criticized Blizzard or praising EQ in WoW during Beta.
"As I already said (READ, PEOPLE, READ!!!), I can't install any of the options Wave proposes on my office computer, not even the bloody plug-in, because my IT service prevents all installation of software by users."

Tobold, this information is not in your article. You switched the subject of conversation to "25% of your readers" but never switched it back to yourself, which is why people are offering you personal advice on switching browsers. If you add "Among people on office computers (including me)" then at least some of the confusion you're seeing in the comments goes away.
What's next? Google applications that don't run on Windows but only on Chrome OS?

Heh, we already have applications that run on Windows but not on Linux or Mac. If they don't want to go to the trouble of making their new gizmo work on IE, that's their loss. We are in a pretty gray area here though. Like if Google made their search not work on IE, I feel like that would be monopolistic.

I'd also point out that Microsoft doesn't make money directly through selling IE, just like Google doesn't make money directly through selling Chrome. While I agree this is somewhat fishy behavior, I feel Google has scored enough "trust points" with me, and Microsoft has incurred enough negative "trust points" with me that I'm inclined to look for a mechanics-related reason for this instead of anti-competitive maneuvering.
The funny thing about the anti Microsoft / anti IE posts above, is that the standards-based wing of thought in Microsoft has won out over the backwards-compatible wing. Microsoft has gotten the standards religion.

(Besides it's not like other browsers didn't try to make their own HTML, that's what Netscape did, and Tim Berners Lee was not happy with them either).

That's why IE8 won't run so many older websites, it is much more standards compliant, and so they added 2 different compatibility modes to be backwards compatible with sites out there.

If you look under Office, you'll see it's all xml now, and anyone can write an Office app that edits Office docs.

Besides no one can complain compared to me, I serve non profits, so according to my web stats I have users still on windows 98 running i.e. 4!
Google wave is using a new industry standard HTML5 which IE does not yet support.

In short it's not anti-competitive practices as you alluded to in your post but slow adoption of a new industry standard (HTML5) by some browser creators (Microsoft) - which is a more boring and technical reason.

HTML5 offers some unique offline features that Google Wave is exploiting. All modern browsers currently support HTML5 except Internet Explorer.
I have wave - but can only use it at home, can't use it effectively without some mucking around on my iphone and that restricts me to what I can use it for / what I want to use it for, and where I can use it.

As much as I wanted that invite - I am now really not sure what to do with it.
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