Google on Modern Browser Support

Published on 3 Jun 2011 at 2:19 pm.
Filed under Google.

Google has recently announced that they going to be dropping support for older browsers.

… Older browsers just don’t have the chops to provide you with the same high-quality experience.

For this reason, soon 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.

As of August 1st, we will discontinue support for the following browsers and their predecessors: Firefox 3.5, Internet Explorer 7, and Safari 3. In these older browsers you may have trouble using certain features in Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs and Google Sites, and eventually these apps may stop working entirely.

I’m actually a bit surprised by the cuts. Firefox 3.5 isn’t really that far out of date/hard to develop for, while IE7 I thought had too many users for a company Google’s size and clientele to drop. I mean it is true IE7 is too buggy and too outdated to support at the quality service level I’d imagine Google wants (heck, I’d love to drop it too), but the official stance of “current release and previous release” seems like it is a bit too shortsighted.

Heck, with Firefox’s upcoming quarterly release cycle that means that by the end of the year they’ll have added and dropped support for Firefox 4.0. In a year or so when IE10 comes out then IE8 will be discontinued, and that will mean the end of XP support for all IE users. From a business standpoint, this would be a very good thing because IE and Safari on XP, and the current default browsers on all Android based devices lack of Server Name Indication means that every Web site needs to be hosted on their own dedicated IP address and thus drives up costs. With IPv4 basically being exhausted and IPv6 adoption at a slow pace not needing a separate IP for every site supporting SSL would allow more sites to be easily hosted securely.

This post was originally published as Google on Modern Browser Support for The BrandBuilder Company.

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