Google Drops Support For Old Browsers - gHacks Tech News

Google Drops Support For Old Browsers

Web companies like Google, WordPress or Facebook are suddenly realizing that old web browsers may have a serious impact on the support they offer. While everyone applauds the companies for dropping support for Internet Explorer 6, the feelings may be mixed when it comes to Google's announcement to discontinue support for additional browsers.

According to the official Gmail Blog, Google will drop support for the following browsers and their predecessors: Firefox 3.5, Internet Explorer 7 and Safari 3. Dropping support does not mean that users will be blocked from using Google services, but it does mean that Google may develop and implement features that no longer work in those browsers.

To put it in plain words: When Google develops new features and services, the company will not test them using the browsers they dropped support for.

Support will be dropped on August 1, and Google notes that "may have trouble using certain features in Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs and Google Sites" from that day on, and that users may notice eventually that "these apps may stop working entirely".

From August 1 on, Google will only support modern browsers. For them, that is Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari, and only the two newest versions of each browser will be supported. When Firefox 5 comes out, support will be dropped for Firefox 3.6, with Firefox 6 support for Firefox 4 will be dropped and so on.

Most features will continue to work in dropped browser versions for a long time to come. Chance is, users will be able to use those browsers indefinitely. Only features that require new technologies like HTML5 may not work in those browsers, drag and drop file uploading or desktop notifications come to mind.

No mentioning of Opera anywhere in the announcement, it is as usual ignored by Google.

What's your take on this? Is this the right step to force users to update their browsers more frequently?

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Comments

  1. Sandeep said on June 2, 2011 at 11:35 am
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    “When Firefox 5 comes out, support will be dropped for Firefox 3.6, with Firefox 6 support for Firefox 4 will be dropped and so on.”

    That looks like a strategy to pick off update stragglers to me. A sizable portion of Firefox users stay with older versions for whatever reason for some time and given Firefox 5 will be out in weeks, a lot of Firefox 3.6 users will be left blowing in the wind by Google. This is making me think hard about Google’s motto.

  2. kalmly said on June 2, 2011 at 3:24 pm
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    I’ve long awaited a fresh, new, less intrusive, manipulative, ad filled, mess of a search engine. Maybe somebody out there will step in and fill the gap Google is opening.

    Please. Somebody.

    1. whosgoogle said on June 4, 2011 at 3:08 am
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      I second that emotion.
      I don’t need google. In fact I have google and all of it’s “services” blocked with AdBlock and in the host file to be absolutely sure. I don’t like companies telling me what to do.

  3. Mark McC said on June 2, 2011 at 6:20 pm
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    Google doesn’t ignore Opera, it seems they actively block support for it. Example, Google Image Search will use its infinite-scrolling fancy layout in all browsers except Opera, which gets the old static layout. Change Opera’s user agent to Firefox and suddenly the new layout appears and is just as fast (if not faster) than in Firefox or Chrome.

    I can understand them dropping backwards compatibility for older clunky browsers. However, for a company that supposedly champions standards like HTML5 they really shouldn’t be discriminating against particular browsers, especially ones that are modern and standards-compliant.

    1. whosgloogle said on June 4, 2011 at 5:59 am
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      Older clunky browsers? Age discrimination anyone? That’s like McDonadl’s saying that they will no longer serve older custumers over 60 because they don’t understand the new menus or because they take too long to order. What Google or any other website need to do is to have separate servers to handle us, the old, the insecure, the slow, the whatever they want to call us. What happens if I have an emergency and I can”t get thru because I’m too old? Lawsuits, anyone. Think of the potencial!
      I will never use Google. I used to like them, until they became spyware. Every website I go wants to connect to Google including this one! Facebook is following…
      I don’t need anyone to worry about my security, if I want to use an Older Clunky Browser so be it.
      Sure I will have to update sometime, but only until I think it’s absolutely necessary.
      In the meantime if someone refuses me service because I’m too old… whatever. There are plenty of choices out there just google it! Just kidding! For anyone thinking of following Google footsteps take a very hard look at it, or you’ll be loosing a lot of your custumers.
      Those were my two cents, just because you’re old doesn’t mean you,re not good!

      1. Tom said on April 28, 2012 at 10:23 pm
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        @whosgloogle
        Most of google’s services still work under older web browsers but under their “Basic HTML” view. This allows them to implement new features without having to work around archaic standards.

        As for discrimination, google is not discriminating against older users, just users running out of date software on their computer.

        Running an up to date browser will give you better protection from online attacks, a faster browsing experience and will provide a better online experience than the browsers mentioned.

        In about 5 years time about 80-90% of the web that is actively developed on will have dropped support for these browsers. And it wont be because they “discriminate” against older users, it is just too much effort to back port newer technologies to older web browsers.

  4. peerer said on June 2, 2011 at 8:46 pm
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    i don’t see any good reason for Google to support internet browser with less than 4% market share.
    They wouldn’t support even Safari, but it uses same engine as Chrome.

  5. omg said on June 3, 2011 at 8:35 am
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    so boring .i like using the older versions but they can’t do it .it’s time to change my browser .i want to download avant brwoser .it’s said that avant can download videos in youtube

  6. Rick Kelnhofer said on June 6, 2011 at 12:49 am
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    I have anetbook with Winows XP. Last I heard, Internet Explorer 9 will not work on XP. So, come vesion 10, Google Apps will not be supported on my machine.
    So, here’s one problem with the “spring ahead of traditional software.” When you have an application that resides on YOUR computer, and that YOU own, you can use it forever, or at least as long as it’s use is not outweighed by the benefits of newer alternatives. (Example, I still use Quicken 8 for DOS, cause the first Windows versions had smaller data fields – a deal breaker then, and I haven’t heard of any compelling improvements since.)
    Something like Google Apps, however, you do NOT own, you don’t control the program code, they can take away the version you’re using at any time and leave you with nothing.
    Despite the allure and benefits of the cloud, in many ways we are reverting to the centralized-control days of the mainframe. It took a while for the PC to wrest away personal control of computing. Beware of giving up control again.

  7. Matt said on June 7, 2011 at 9:09 am
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    Poor Google, it must be soooo hard to maintain LEAST COMMON DENOMINATOR search results.

    When Gmail stops working in Firefox 3.6 (and Thunderbird 3), Gmail stops being my mail provider, period. I’m fed up with being forced to use the “newest” and least functional software, with the most inefficient user interfaces, the most bloated code, and the most work arounds and add-ins needed to restore the functionality that was in the previous version. In fact, I didn’t stop using Firefox 2.0 until the add-ins were available to restore the Firefox 3.6 user interface to the look, feel, and controls of Firefox 2. And I’ve deleted my YouTube account already, due to Google and their demands.

    As for Google and the cloud, I wouldn’t use their cloud solutions and more than I’d use MicroS**t’s cloud offerings. My data is none of their business, and I’m not going to be dependent on them for the software, or the storage. Anyone who is dumb enough to put their data in the cloud deserves to lose it! I have approximately 2 TB of home video, photos, music, documents, etc, stored and backed up on and across multiple drives and devices, as well as CD-R, DVD-R, and now BD-RE discs.

    On second thought, let them drop support for older browsers. Then I can stop wasting as much time surfing the internet and get more work done!

  8. Ricardus said on July 6, 2011 at 7:33 pm
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    “When Google develops new features and services, the company will not test them using the browsers they dropped support for.” This is indeed true from the developer point of view as they won’t have the time to test and fix bugs for the old browser therefore they’ll just test on the latest 2 version of the browser and then just dropped the older version.

  9. Marta said on October 25, 2011 at 8:55 am
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    See this:

    I have Firefox 7.0.1 and I was using it yesterday with Gmail, Gmail calendar and Blogspot, then all of a sudden I started getting messages saying that my browser was too old (???) and some features wouldn’t be working anymore.
    Any idea on what happened?
    Thank you!

    Marta

  10. Noreen Newell said on January 23, 2012 at 1:23 am
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    I amusing teh older browser and really relie on my call phone which I can no longer get with the new gmail. So I downloaded google chrome and chat and call phone did not appear so downloaded a newer version of internet explorer and that didn’t work either. So I guess my option is to try another email provider

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