Google Apps to Cut Off Support to Older Browsers

Category: General News Internet | Posted on June 02, 2011

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In a post to the Docs blog, Venkat Panchapakesan, vice president of engineering at , says that the company will be culling the list of browsers Apps will support come Aug. 1. On the chopping block: Firefox 3.5, Safari 3, 7, and all earlier versions of those browsers.

to Cut Off Support to Older BrowsersWhile the elimination of support for Firefox 3.5 and earlier and Safari 3 and earlier won’t affect many users, the latest figures from NetMarketShare show that is still pulling 7 percent of the market. Beyond that, IE6, which Google dropped support for last year, is still claiming a healthy 10.36 percent, second only to IE8. All told, Google is eliminating support to 17.4 percent of the market merely by cutting off and below.

It’d be tempting to view this as a move by Google to slap at its rival Microsoft, but the announcement makes no pitch for users to switch to Google’s Chrome browser. Rather, it asks users to “get the latest version of [their] favorite browser.”

Instead, the announcement emphasizes the importance of the security and compatibility fixes offered in newer browsers, and for that, Google deserves some kudos. As the use of Web apps continues to grow, so too do the security and compatibility issues that Web apps bring, and using old browser versions exacerbates those vulnerabilities. It may be frustrating for some users to have to upgrade, but it’s a good thing for Web app providers to force a browser upgrade now and then, if only to keep users from suffering a security breach and to be able to leverage the best new technologies.

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