Google has announced that as of November 18 2012 it will no longer support Microsoft’s Internet Explorer on its Apps.
Current users of Internet Explorer 8 will receive a message suggesting they upgrade to a newer release and while Google sites will not suddenly stop working on the web browser, they will not be supported in the long term.
Though this move will make the search engine giant one of the first major companies to drop support for Microsoft’s three-year-old web browser, its decision is not entirely unprecedented. Google is dedicated to supporting the two most recent versions of major web browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Google’s own Google Chrome browser. The company has previously dropped support for older browsers including Internet Explorer 7 and with Internet Explorer 9 already released and Internet Explorer 10 due for release on October 26, it is only natural that the company drop support for the aging browser.
However, unlike previous transitions, this move will mean that Google is effectively dropping its support for Windows XP users. Internet Explorer 9 was not made compatible with Microsoft’s XP operating system meaning that XP users will no longer be able to use Internet Explorer to access Google sites. As of November 18 there will be no new Windows XP security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates. With around 25% of Windows users worldwide still using the ten year old operating system, an unprecedented number of people will be forced to either update their operating system or change their web browser.
Google Aps previously dropped support for a number of older browsers in August of 2011, including Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 3.5 and Safari 3. During this support dump, users were told by Google that the “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.”