By Craig Buckler

Google Drops Support for “Old” Browsers in GMail and Apps

By Craig Buckler

Browser testing is a pain. There’s nothing worse than completing your web masterpiece only to find it breaks in browser X, version Y on OS Z when the user’s eating a tuna sandwich and facing North.

Google suffers the same distress but, within 2 months, they intend to solve the problem. According to their official blog:

Google Apps will only support modern browsers. Beginning August 1st, we’ll support the current and prior major release of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari on a rolling basis. Each time a new version is released, we’ll begin supporting the update and stop supporting the third-oldest version.

note: What about…

Opera? It’s strange Google rarely mentions the fifth most-popular browser. It may have a relatively small 2% market share, but 2% is a lot of people and Opera has the most-used mobile browser. Give ’em a break, Google! Many of us test in Opera — you should too.

Google’s new policy has been determined by development teams who want to make use of modern HTML5 techniques such as file drag-and-drop or desktop integration. Older browsers should remain usable for a while, but certain application features will fail or be disabled. Eventually, an old browser may stop working altogether.

The policy raises a number of interesting questions. Both Google and Mozilla have implemented rapid release schedules and Firefox 5 is due within a few weeks. At that point, Google will abandon Firefox 3.x — a browser which was superseded only a few months ago and still enjoys a sizable 14% market share.

The bigger news is IE10. It could be released before the end of 2011 and, once that happens, Google will drop support for IE8 — the world’s most used browser and the only version of IE which can be installed on Windows XP. According to StatCounter, XP is used by almost 46% of the net population and many corporations are entrenched on the aging operating system. If they’re using Google Apps, they’ll either need to upgrade or migrate to an alternative browser. Either way, that incurs staff retraining or OS purchase costs which could outweigh the savings made by switching to Google’s products.

Given the rapid updates made to Chrome and Firefox, Google’s definition of an “obsolete” browser could be a version that’s been around for little more than 3 months. Few developers test beyond the current versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera but, like it or not, IE remains a special case.

It’s a brave move by Google. I admire their reasoning, but I’d be nervous about implementing a similar policy.

Would you?

  • IT Mitică

    Kind of making sense. Kind of not.

    Talking only desktop seems to me like a policy to make me nervous these days.

    For me, lately, it’s already about netbooks, tablets, smartphones, all over the place.

    The adoption rate and life span for these devices is shorter then any desktop systems.

    Seems a good counter argument against desktop XP-related skepticism.

    I’m optimistic and I expect I’ll get over IE8 in shorter time than it took me to move forward from IE6, and I expect the web market to support that. Let’s be honest, IE9 doesn’t quite compete with today’s browsers either.

    However, such faster schedule for releases, for me, puts a big question mark over the quality of those changes.

    Things making me nervous also, are the insufficient maturing time and the artificial boost such a rapid moving forward approach will give to new technologies, beyond HTML5 and CSS3.

    And, the fragmentation that comes with this territory.

    Overall, a fast moving market and technology may just be the answer that I need in the future to avoid being stuck with a 10ys old browser, today. It just seems to me like a better alternative.

  • Friendly Machine

    I love this move by Google, but it’ll be tough to follow their lead in most cases. Not supporting IE 8 is a tough sell/bad idea at this point, imo. The thing I really hope comes out of this is to push users to upgrade their browsers. So many people still use IE 7…such a hassle. I often wonder how many developer hours have been racked up globally by designers hacking things for IE.

  • It’s not brave, it’s lazy and arrogant — it’s “we’re google, and you have to use what we say”.

    • It’s brave from the point of view of publicizing their web apps. It could backfire spectacularly.

    • Mat Marlow

      It’s not lazy, it’s cost effective and technologically beneficial. The web is supposed to evolve quickly but it’s slowed down by the lack of user upgrades. If Google can champion this change then we’ll all be better off – users and developers alike.
      Big companies always get labelled arrogant but they are merely taking advantage of their position.

      • Tuomas

        Have to completely agree here with Mat.

        Ok, granted, the at least theoretical possibility of IE8 support falling off shortly is drastic… then again, in reality IE8 is far from modern, so is it really that bad after all.

        Pushing the most popular services off supporting older browsers is most likely one of the best ways to make your average Joe find out what modern browsers are out there.

        Oh the joy if Facebook blocked IE6/7.

    • Heath Howard

      James, it isn’t lazy or arrogant. We need a leader like this to pave the way. This was the problem with IE6 that has plagued us for years. No one was willing to take a stand and stop supporting it… until Google did. Then Microsoft started taking it serious that they needed to box IE6 back up and put it in the attic for some future generation to uncover and wonder at it’s lack of compatibility.

      I say bravo Google and thank you for making the web browser world a better place.

      Yes, the rapid update cycle adopted by Firefox could pose a bit of a problem, but I think the result of all this will be that the user will get in the better habit of updating their browser regularly.

      • The reason for IE6’s longevity is because it was the only mainstream browser at the turn of the century. It had no competitors and a 95% market share for half a decade. Microsoft won, abandoned browser development, and invested in “smart clients” — Windows apps which used the net for collaboration, storage, etc.

        We are also to blame. Many developers created IE-specific web applications. That wasn’t out of nativity: IE6 was the standard. That said, IE6 did have good web standards support — for it’s time. It’s amazing we can still make stuff work 10 years after it’s release.

        Google was not the first to stop supporting IE6, but they’ll certainly be one of the first to abandon IE8 and Firefox 3. Is that leading the way? I’m not convinced. Users will be forced to switch browsers, upgrade Windows, or abandon Google Apps (for MS Office). Microsoft wins again.

  • A

    No, I wouldn’t be nervous. It’s time to stop being sissies and spend our precious time on screwing with 10 y.o browsers. Would’t it be nice if could spend that same time on improving semantics or accessibility of our sites, or trying out all new technologies on real projects?
    I applause Google in their intentions. (Honestly, if Google won’t do that – nobody will). Google has a lot of power to change the shape of the web and that could include browser usage, and I’m glad to hear that they are concerned about not only making money, but also making a web a little bit a better place. What we need is a huge campaign telling people to upgrade their browser and Goog looks like the only company that had a guts (and money) to do that. So, let’s already move forward!
    Oh, and about corporate users. I dont buy that crap about huge costs of upgrading. If a CEO of a particular *big* company will donate his one month salary, it would be enough to upgrade all software, hardware, as well as the whole IT staff, which got stuck somewhere in 90s.

  • Ian

    Why do developers have to keep treating IE as a special case? I’m constantly telling people to forget IE, why don’t the developers? Anybody still using XP by the end of next year ought to be ignored anyway. That’ll get them to wake up and smell the coffee!

    • While we can persuade/beg people to try alternatives, ultimately it’s up to the user/corporation which browser they use. The vast majority of people don’t know what a browser is — and telling them they’ll get rounded corners and shading is unlikely to be a major benefit.

      Let’s be honest: dropping older browser helps developers more than it helps clients or users. We’re producing sites/apps for people. If those systems don’t work on browsers people use, they’ll take their money elsewhere. Who loses out?

    • The Schaef

      Here’s the problem with this attitude: some companies use software that is certified for XP but not for 64-bit operating systems. Those companies have to hang on to XP for as long as they can until they have a green light to move forward. Yes, people in that situation can still use Firefox et al, but in cases where they have to roll over to IE, 8 is their only viable option at this point. The fact that IE9+ are not available on this OS puts these companies in a bind.

      • Stormrider

        So install Windows 7 32 bit?

      • The Schaef

        Businesses will be loathe to install ANYTHING that their major software vendors haven’t certified for their operating systems. That’s the point here. If they’re not certifying for the 32-bit version of the W7 it’s not going to matter; the specific OS is not the issue, but whether versions beyond XP are certified at all.

    • PeteW

      That’s a vast market you’ll be ignoring by the end of next year, then. Changing an OS isn’t easy for those of us who use a wide range of software. Vista was a mistake that thankfully few people made. Windows 7 looks good, and can handle legacy software, but it’ll take me ages to switch just because reinstalling, re-licensing and re-configuring all my most-used software will take most of a week. That’s despite the fact that I’m already multibooting XP, 64-bit Windows 7 and Linux, with a Mac on a KVM switch. I’ll change when I can, not to some arbitrary date set by others.

      Having the latest software isn’t an end in itself for anyone who values performance over appearance. Most would rather have something that works than the latest thing that doesn’t. If they can live without the things that modern browsers offer, let them – just don’t force developers to try to fake those features for the sake of people who think they don’t want them. So I agree that IE(6) should be left for dead, but not for the sake of its age or version number – for the sake of the *real* reasons we all want to see it go. Security, and the amount of extra development effort it imposes on us. Major version numbers don’t always mean that either of those points change, so I don’t believe Google’s use of them to define its support remit is wise – at least, not if followed slavishly.

      In more direct response to your question, IE *is* a special case because most people who use it have had it handed to them without any information about alternatives. It’s also a special case because it doesn’t allow people to try various versions at the same time. It’s also a special case because it is OS-specific, to the point of IE9 being used to force people to change their OS. How much of a special case does it need to be?

      • Stormrider

        “I’ll change when I can, not to some arbitrary date set by others.”

        2 years is not enough? I installed Windows 7 when it was released, and most of the software I use – 1 afternoon maybe. 1 afternoon for a more secure, more functional, better OS is an easy decision to make!

        Vista had bad press, but there was nothing wrong with it really (other than computer manufacturers lying about which hardware would run it) – it was easily superior to XP. I think it is important to stay up to date.

      • PeteW

        @Stormrider – no, 2 years is not enough, not for a major OS switch. For the first 6 months of a new OS, it’s effectively in an extended form of public beta, since no beta program can really compare to live worldwide usage. It’s worth updating to improve security and productivity, but having a spangly new name/interface doesn’t necessarily equate to that. And I’m glad that *you* could install all your software in an afternoon, but my point was that not everyone could do so, myself included.

        Vista was shinier than XP. I heard of lots of hardware *and* software compatibility problems, and that was enough to put me off, since hardware and software are more important to me than glossy toolbars. I don’t want an OS that hogs my hardware, costs me money and then might not run all the programs I want it to. Windows 7’s XP compatibility mode reassures me about upgrading to that, but I’m in no rush to do so given the time it will take, and that isn’t just because I need to “wake up and smell the coffee,” as Ian implied. Quite the reverse – I’m very aware of both the pros and the cons of such an upgrade, and from my perspective, those who think fashion *alone* is enough reason to change an OS should lay off the Kool Aid. :-)

      • The Schaef

        I strongly disagree with the notion that Vista was “easily superior” to XP, if for no other reason than this. XP had a nominally functional level of VPN capability which was critical in my previous work environment. Vista VPN was excruciating by comparison, both in its inability to create simple, reliable connections and in its utter neglect to tell you what might actually be causing the problem.

        It’s just one example of many where MS improved certain things with Vista but felt they had to cripple other functions in the process, for some reason, and still fail to address some of the core problems with their OS to begin with.

        That’s actually a pretty consistent theme with Microsoft. Other examples are how they continue to add some standards support to IE but neglect others that other browsers have implemented for years. It doesn’t even treat the button element correctly – THE BUTTON! One big complaint in Office 2007 was the rendering of HTML email in Outlook using the Word engine, causing emails to render goofy. But in Office 2010… same engine! And now Microsoft Expression demonstrates rendering problems on their own operating system!

        So no, the bad press about Vista revolved around Microsoft’s SOP of making some shiny improvements in order to gloss over basic things that they neglected or in some cases even degraded.

  • Martin

    I wish I my boss had the balls to take the same decision :-)
    Everything would be more fun
    Google rocks

  • Michael

    I honestly don’t think even Google has this much pull, and they are going to be giving bing a lot of traction if they follow through with this.

    • IT Mitică

      I’m an extensive internet surfer and, from my experience, bing has much to catch up to even consider it self a contender. I don’t believe this move from Google will hurt its position as leader.

  • Andrei

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  • Andrei

    seripusly – anything that get’s folks to move away from ie6 is an awesome awesome thing.

    • Google abandoned IE6 a while ago. That said, Apps will probably still work to a limited extent in the browser.

  • Andrew Griffin

    I’m happy that someone with some muscle is pushing the adoption of modern browsers. it’s about time. There’s little reason for people to be stuck on older browsers. Google just jumped up a slot on my totem pole. This will bring great things to web development.

  • Alex

    I applaud Google for the policy and completely understand the reasoning. It will be a good move for Google Chrome and the browser market in general.

    With that said, I also agree that Google needs to give Opera a break and start showing them some support.

  • Andrew Cooper

    This is a fantastic move by Google, in my opinion of course. I think I’ll do the exact same thing with my business and client Websites. As in, at the current time of writing this, just support, for example, IE9 and 8, and in very special cases IE7. I never did support IE6 even when I started out in Web design / development.

    With the recent news of Windows 8 and IE10 and the new App model that Microsoft have planned for Windows 8 – That being a HTML5 and JS powered application model – and Microsoft themselves pushing the decline of IE6 through, I think we can all begin to relax a bit more when we hear or see anything related to IE6.

  • Justin

    If only us web developers could drop older browsers support so aggressively!

    I keep seeing clients who use old browsers and so dropping support for them is not an option even in the case if IE 6!

    Very brave of Google to do it so harshly especially as many businesses use their online apps and in some cases they don’t upgrade their browsers due to the cost implications.

    I wish browsers all updated in the background to the latest versions so this issue of people using old browsers could be greatly helped.

    Glad you mentioned Opera, my favourite browser, annoying that Google doesn’t officially support it!

    • PeteW

      @Justin – are you charging them for the extra time it takes to get IE6 working? Are you *telling* them how much extra it is costing them? Are you telling them which features won’t work on IE6 without loads of hacking (or ‘at all’)? I keep seeing clients who are forced to use old browsers (at work – thanks, UK civil service), but most are happy with graceful degradation when they see that developing for a broken, minority browser will cost them a significant chunk of cash. Even if they can’t order an upgrade at work, they can usually check the site at home, on a browser that works.

      • Justin

        @PeteW – Interesting points.

        I do not charge them extra time for getting sites working in IE6. It is provided as part of the service. Having said that I wonder if you discounted an amount off the price, as you suggest, if the client would accept no support for IE6. Most clients probably would.

        I have developed sites for internal systems where the client only users IE6 and in that case you have no option but to support it :-/

  • Dirk Waldeck

    Screw Opera, it’s survival of the fittest and quite frankly Opera is not fit. It might render 100% standards compliant, but if it doesn’t render sites you use every day at a reasonable speed, why bother?

    As for Google’s decision, why not. It’s a reasonable decision that most of the users you care about have access to the internet and can download a reasonable browser. Forcing people to catch a wake-up has been long in the running and I for one am over joyed.

    Besides, IE8 will not stop working all of a sudden, it just won’t be tested anymore.

  • Henrik Blunck

    It is the only right thing to do. Supporting antiquated browser versions would be nonsensical, especially given the fact that download times suffer when you need to code yourself out of potential problems to stay compatible with such old browsers. So big thumbs up from me on this one.

  • Paul

    About time! Hopefully the others will follow suit!

  • Curt Bennett

    Everyone (including Google) knows 3 simple truths; XP isn’t going to die off overnight, the most commonly used browser on XP is IE, and the highest possible version of IE that XP can run is 8. Given these factors, I suspect that Google will continue to test for usability in IE8 for quite some time, even if their new policy says it’s not necessary.

    • I suspect you’re right. It may not be their official policy, but dropping testing and support for the world’s most-used browser is commercial suicide.

      Google has worked hard to encourage large corporations and government agencies to adopt GMail and Apps. These are the clients who are most likely to be using XP and IE8.

      • PeteW

        I suspect we’ll see a (partial?) U-turn at the point where this would make Google drop IE8. I had occasion to advise on a similar ‘last 2 versions’ support policy some years ago – it’s the sort of blanket statement beloved of managers and marketing, but it’s just not technically practical. Major version number changes don’t necessarily mean that the new version will be easier to support. Such a policy also leads people to expect support for a new version the day it comes out. It’s far more realistic (and honest) to just say “It is no longer cost-effective for us to support version X of product Y,” on a case-by-case basis.

  • Kristof Polleunis

    @Waldeck? Opera is the best browser ever! Chrome crashes like there’s no tomorrow. Firefox 4 is reasonably stable and I could live with it. Safari is just plain boring not many extensions and slow. That just leaves Opera for the Mac user.

    And by far Opera is the fastest in launching, opening and rendering sites. The amount of non working sites is minimal. It far better than any version of internet explorer anyway.

  • Raul

    I’m not sure Google deserves the blame for its apps not working for people using xp as much as Microsoft does. It was Microsofts decision to remove support from xp with their newest browser release and they should bear the blame for leaving 46% of the net population out in the cold.

    • I agree that Microsoft should do something for XP users. I’ve moaned about it enough. Google also supplies Chrome Frame which solves many of the issues for those people who can’t/won’t upgrade.

      However, the market is what it is. It’s not Google’s fault that XP/IE8 is the most-used OS/browser combination, but dropping testing and support is either incredibly brave or utterly stupid.

    • Stormrider

      Why shouldn’t they encourage their customers to upgrade though? It doesn’t help anyone being stuck on XP, and MS spending the money supporting stubborn people who don’t want to upgrade.

      • I think they should encourage users to upgrade XP. It’s a 10 year-old OS. But making IE9 Vista/7 only is a tiny step and I doubt it persuaded many people to upgrade.

        If Microsoft were really serious about getting users off XP they should stop selling it and drop support for Office, Visual Studio and other popular products. Unfortunately for them, it would have a massive impact on their profitability.

      • Stormrider

        Of course, it’s a business decision. XPs end of life will come soon enough, then they will stop selling it and supporting it, just as they have done with every previous version of windows. Making IE9 Vista+ only probably didn’t have a difference, but then I’m not a software coder at Microsoft, so who knows what reasons they had. It could be that IE9 leverages support from some of the code in Vista that it can’t use with XP (eg Hardware acceleration or something), and the benefits of building a better browser outweighed the cost of losing a few users stuck on a dated OS.

  • samanime

    We should keep in mind that Google may have analyzed their own personal traffic and decided the loss of IE may not be that big of a deal. While the numbers worldwide may be huge, they may be looking at numbers saying <5% of users use IE at all or something.

    We should also keep in mind that they aren’t “turning off” browsers, they just aren’t going to test on them any more. If the difference between IE8 and 10 is relatively minimal in the respects that relate to their apps, IE8 may still work for a good while.

    • Perhaps. But Google sell Apps on the basis that it can be used on many different systems and saves money compared to MS Office. If you were a corporation considering Apps for 10,000 XP/IE8 users, how would you react to this news?

      • Henrik Blunck

        Very calm reaction, I would suspect, because any serious corporation that isn’t aware of how little importance antiquated browsers have isn’t really looking to do business.

        There is a big difference between nostalgia and business – and thinking in modern terms should be focused on functionality. Browsers are free to upgrade, and that IS the thing people should do if they want to stay up-to-date online. :-)

      • IE8 is a couple of years old. Firefox 3 was only updated a few weeks ago. Large businesses and government agencies often have 10-year IT plans.

        If browsers are free to upgrade, are you happy to do it for someone without payment? What about on 10 machines? What about 10,000? Oh yes, and you might need to train all the IT novices not to use that blue ‘e’ icon and be happy to accept support calls for a few weeks.

        The software may be free. Installation, support and training isn’t.

  • David Mitchell

    Opera is my primary browser, and I use Gmail. I’d sooner stop using Gmail than Opera.

    Oh, I’m one of those still using Windows XP as well.

    • Henrik Blunck

      My best advice is to upgrade, as soon as you can get a hold of the upgrade, to Windows 7. I was positively surprised when we recently bought new laptops, because I had anticipated I would trash Windows 7 and go straight over to Mandriva Linux.

      But both my wife and I feel Windows 7 is a great and fantastic upgrade. Everything works excellently on our Packard Bells. :-)

  • Daniel

    I’m sure Google is thinking that all XP users will move to chrome, smart move to be honest.

  • Josh

    I think Google is doing the right think with this. It does seem a bit aggressive with how quick they will drop browser support. But I feel this is mainly a problem for large corporations who run XP and have a cold hearted IT/Tech dept that demands the users only run Internet Explorer.

    Even if you need IE for your intranet or custom applications I can’t think of a good reason why a large IT dept could not come up with a plan to let the users have a more modern browser for the internet browsing.

    • In a word: training.

      You probably run multiple browsers and have no problem switching between multiple applications. Many end users aren’t that tech-savvy. 90% of people don’t know or care what a browser is. Telling them to use IE for certain systems and Chrome/Firefox/Opera for others will lead to confusion and endless support calls. Remember that large corporations and government agencies often have thousands of users.

      Chrome Frame could help, but it’s an interim solution. Ultimately, it’s easier to keep users on what they know and understand. After all, what real benefit do users get from switching browsers? It’s a costly exercise for the sake of slightly faster and prettier surfing.

      • The Schaef

        It is for that reason that I clandestinely set up Firefox as the default browser on nearly all the computers in my old network, and used IETab to cover certain IE-only sites.

  • Mitya

    It bugs me that someone as supposedly web-savvy as Google doesn’t even mention Opera. This is a great shame, since it’s a fantastic browser. On many benchmarks it’s the only one that can compete with Google’s own Chrome, so perhaps this is why they don’t mention it! A lot of questions have to be asked of Opera’s marketing people, though, that the have for a long time now failed to significantly change their market share. Sure, it’s hard to get casual users to change web browser, and even more so on public networks. But they could at least try a bit harder…

    • Google’s original intention for Chrome was to highlight that alternative browsing applications existed. They stated they didn’t care whether users adopted Chrome — they just wanted people to use a modern browser (and get them away from IE6/7).

      So why neglect Opera?

      Google’s goal is to get people running their web apps on modern browsers. Opera should be part of that plan.

  • Ben

    Im totally with google on this one ….. if we can all build a experience for users ie7 + and concentrate so much more on modern day browsers its a win …. I build all my pages in html5 and as for ie i build a page which still presents the content but doesnt look as visually attractive …. lets start looking forward and not back because if we do these standards arent going to go anywhere …. stop the blabber about “im not using html5 till its fully released” because end of the day css 2.1 isnt fully released and every single one of us use it as if it is going out of fashion

  • Wolf_22

    What a mess this is all turning out to be…

  • Richard H

    Keep in mind we are talking about Google’s applications here. Very few people really question it when Microsoft or Apple reduce and drop support for older software when releasing new operating systems. Think of all the software that would not work in the transition between OS9 and osX or in the switch to Intel Macs.
    It is amazing Google has been to keep these apps as current on so many browsers for so long. Building web apps is a little like spinning plates in a shooting gallery. I am more surprised Google has not pushed the Chrome browser on companies more by adding some enhancements only available in newest browsers.
    Then again no browser manufacturer would ever dream of encouraging use of features like css transitions, part of an unfinished spec, and market their use as “optimized for iOS”.

    • I don’t think Microsoft and Apple can be directly compared.

      Apple has always dropped support for old software and their users understand that. Apple sell both hardware and software as an all-in-one device – if you want to upgrade, you buy a new Mac.

      Microsoft has long-term support which appeals to business clients. XP is supported until 2014 and, other than IE9, I can’t think of any other software which won’t run on the OS.

      If we look at MS Office, both 2007 and 2010 run on XP 32/64-bit upwards. Even if the next version drops XP support, you could still use 2007/10. Office’s strongest competitors are its previous versions.

      Google wants to compete against MS Office. One of the supposed benefits of cloud apps is that they should run on any OS with a reasonably modern browser. However, Google is now telling the majority of their customer base to either switch browsers or upgrade to Windows Vista/7. That’s not an easy or cheap option for large corporations, especially in the current economic climate.

      Only one company will benefit from Google’s browser policy: Microsoft.

  • godie

    i think this is the best choise, becouse users update their browsers

  • Thomas Jane

    Its a very good and brave decision made by Google, must have been made earlier. The older browser should die one day.

  • Renatech

    Google’s move is not as ruthless as it should have been. Browsers should always be updated, but people are too lazy. I know many people who just install xp and start using built-in version of IE, without even knowing that IE is a browser. Without even knowing that other browsers also exist.

    BTW google should have mentioned Opera.

  • palhmbs

    I think that as with any growing company, Google has problems to face.. Their perceptions & decisions aren’t gonna be as easy as when they were a small growing company.

    Unfortunately, everybody seems to be pushing this cloud thing, I’m a pessimist at this stage, I pay real dollars for my bandwidth,it’s not cheap. Why would I move to use more and more bandwidth to do the things I currently do, I can’t see the point in streaming a song a gazillion times when I could just store it locally.

    This thing about dropping browsers some out of their testing is bad policy. Microsoft screwed Netscape, but Mozilla are still around aren’t they?

    Opera is here to stay, so Google, get over yourselves and work with all the players in the game, otherwise you’ll make yourself into the baddy that Microsoft became.

    Google, play nice.

    P.S. I’m a long-time Opera fan, I like the fact that I can integrate my various POP3 / IMAP email accounts in the browser (which other browser can boast about that?). I love the fact that Opera are on a fast-track release schedule like the main players. I love Operas new extensions, and Speeddial. I also love Opera Dragonfly for web development. There is alot of things that the other browsers have copied that were in Opera for a long time. Also, if we really want to value competition, try the competition out for awhile. You soon see where your product can do better (or how lame it is) if you test the oppositions product.

  • Daquan Wright

    I think from Google’s perspective, it is a necessary evil. Google is not “you.”

    Google wants a more educated web, a smoother web experience for users, and they want the focus on apps. From what I see, Microsoft is a big cause for holding Google back, and it looks like they’re sick of it.

    Microsoft’s browsers give developers nightmares and hold the web back by their long-term business policies, stakeholders, etc.

    Google is not like MS, they favor innovation and sticking to today’s standards. For Google, this is the right decision.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s the right decision for you. If you’re like MS and you have clients stuck with those contracts, well, you’re stuck with them.

    Considering all I’ve seen from Google, there isn’t anything stupid about it (but perhaps it is rash). This situation all along has been like MS was a weight tied to Google’s leg, while Google is trying to win a foot race.

    If someone is an an older set-up, let them use dated software for it. Google will need to shift its strategy a bit if it’s to remain successful. But they are too hungry for innovation to let businesses hold them back, at least the news here shows that.

  • Tukans

    it’s because Google understands, that all new technologies for web, apps etc will not work in older browsers. and if developers need to create new features with newest technologies – it almost not possible if they need to do it work in all browsers. so i also think it’s correct way :)

    • Not all browsers support all new (HTML5) technologies. This is true, but what application features cannot be achieved in, say, IE6?

      It’s always possible to resort to an alternative technology or use a shim.

  • MacRamsay

    I’ll be adopting this policy in my web design T&Cs fairly shortly. I’m through with browser testing for people who won’t upgrade (or switch) their browser. I feel for those who cannot upgrade because of admin restrictions, but that means the administrator in question needs to get with the times and allow/promote upgrades too!

    Google is helping push the web forward with this new policy, let’s join in!

  • DoRight

    You have forgotten most of the developing world from where much of growth of computing is coming. Where do you think all those ‘underpowered’ computers of just a few years ago are going? Do you recall when 128 MB was std equipment?
    That is still standard equipment in most internet cafes/school labs in my part of the world. Serve the underserved; or ignore the risk of missing a large market.
    ¿ Habla Español ? Bahasa Malayu ? ¡ Vive Android !

  • Marta

    It’s fine if they drop old browsers but…

    I have a Firefox 7.0.1, and yesterday all of a sudden I started getting messages in my gmail services (gmail, gmail calendar and blogspot) saying my browser was too old and wouldn’t support some features. Any idea about what might have happened?

    Thank you!


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