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Google is phasing out
support for older browsers from 1 August.
Those using IE7, Safari 3, Firefox 3.5 and their
predecessors to view Gmail, Google Calendar,
Talk, Docs and Sites will then lose some
Eventually, it warned, these web services will
stop working for those sticking with older
The move is part of a trend to stop the use of
ageing browsers which can be insecure and not
sophisticated enough to handle the latest web
browser versions gathered by StatCounter
suggest about 17% need to change in the light of
Google made its
announcement in a blogpost saying its
engineers were keen to make use of the latest
capabilities in browsers, and that required
support for HTML5 technology.
As a result, from 1 August, Google will only
support what it calls "modern browsers". By this
it means the latest versions and major prior
releases of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer
As new versions of these are released, Google
will get its web services working with that and
then drop support for the third-oldest version.
Support in this
sense means that Google will only do
compatibility testing with more up-to-date
browsers. It will not carry out tests with older
programmes and can make no guarantees that web
services will work with them.
blogpost, Venkat Panchapakesan, vice president
of engineering at Google, wrote: "These new
browsers are more than just a modern
convenience, they are a necessity for what the
In mid-May, Mozilla, which oversees development
of Firefox, kicked off a plan to get the 12
million or so people using version 3.5 of its
browser to update.
It said it was "frustrated"
with efforts to get people to upgrade and had
taken a series of steps to force change.
It used pop-up screens, adverts, re-directs and
updates to steer people towards more recent
versions of Firefox.
Figures gathered by Mozilla suggest the campaign
has had some success as the number of users on
Firefox 3.5 has now dropped to about one
Microsoft's campaign to stop people using
Internet Explorer 6 is one of the longest
running upgrade efforts.
The software giant has used its automatic update
system to get newer versions of its browser out
to many users.
However, many companies prefer not to use this
system and that has meant IE6 clinging on in
some firms and nations.
11% of browsers are IE6, suggest
figures compiled by Microsoft, and there is
a wide variation around the world.
About 34% of Chinese net users are on IE6, as
are 22.3% of South Koreans and 11.6% of
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