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Google Dropping Support For Earlier Browsers

June 3, 2011

Google will be phasing out support for older browsers starting on August 1.

Those using Internet Explorer 7, Safari 3, Firefox 3.5 and their earlier versions of web browsers to view Gmail, Google Calendar, Talk, Docs and Sites will lose some function.

Google said these web services will stop working for those sticking with older browsers.

The move is seen as an attempt to stop the use of aging browsers, which can be insecure and not sophisticated enough to handle the latest web technologies.

According to StatCounter, about 17 percent of those using the service will need to change their browser.

Google said in a blog post that its engineers were keen to make use of the latest capabilities in browsers, and that required support for HTML 5 technology.

Support means Google will only do compatibility testing with more up-to-date browsers. 

Venkat Panchapakesan, vice president of engineering at Google, wrote in Google’s blog post: “These new browsers are more than just a modern convenience, they are a necessity for what the future holds.”

“So if it’s been a while since your last update, we encourage you to get the latest version of your favorite browser,” Panchapakesan wrote.

Mozilla said it was “frustrated” with efforts to get people to upgrade its browser.

It used pop-up screens, adverts, re-directs and updates to steer people towards more recent versions of Firefox.

Microsoft has also campaigned to try and get users to stop using Internet Explorer 6.  The company has used its automatic update system to get newer versions of its browser out to many users.

However, companies have preferred not to use this update system, leaving their Web browsers out of date.

About 11 percent of browsers around the world are Internet Explorer 6, along with about 34 percent of Chinese users. 

“As the world moves more to the web, these new browsers are more than just a modern convenience, they are a necessity for what the future holds,” Panchapakesan said in the post.

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