Well it was only a matter of time but it's finally happening, Google are dropping support for older browsers:
As of August 1st, we will discontinue support for the following browsers and their predecessors: Firefox 3.5, Internet Explorer 7, and Safari 3. In these older browsers you 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.
Read their blog entry here.
What is everyone's thoughts and reactions to this news?
I don't think it will have too much of an affect on home users as many may well be using the newest versions. Where I feel it will have the most impact will be users in the workplace, where they might not be able to upgrade to the latest version. It may push some business and education users back towards other office software suites, eg MS Office.
It probably will affect the workplace. Although, workplaces that actually use google apps/docs tend to be a bit more progressive and keep up with updates reasonably well.
Specualtive, but I think we'll see lots of the IE6 stuff finally fall off. The apps that were built for IE6 are starting to age out. PCs and OSes with IE6 are starting to age out. World is moving past things enough that people see value in modern browsers.
Why would Google dropping support for IE7 have any affect on IE6 use? Surely IE6 users were impacted as much as they were going to be by Google back when Google dropped support for IE6.
Or are you thinking about those workarounds that were needed for IE7 that also worked for IE6 - eg. a workaround for CSS tables.
I think this a right step forward in encouraging people to update their browsers allowing devs to express themselves without too much legacy support issues. But to say some Google apps may eventually stop working entirely with old browsers seems a bit harsh to me. They should maintain fallback versions of their apps if they can.
Who is going to pay for that? If Google is only earning enough from advertising to support modern browsers and adding support for IE6 and 7 will approximately double the cost then just who is going to pay Google this second half of what it will cost them? I suppose if they charged everyone for accessing their site then they could afford to provide that extra support but would you be prepared to pay your share of the extra cost to Google to allow them to support those few people who live in mud huts and hunt mastodon for a living or would you expect those people to pay for the extra cost themselves (and mastodon hunters are less likely to pay to use Google than they are to move out of their mud hut into a modern house).
The more the big players like Google abandon these older browsers, the faster people will be moved to upgrade, so I'm all for this. I know there's an argument for not forcing people to abandon old technology, but the reality is that technology moves at a fast pace, and people who want to use it need to move with it. Those who hold on the the old stuff slow down progress for everyone, and really, it's not exactly expensive to upgrade to a newer browser. OK, it sometimes requires upgrading the OS, but even that's not hugely expensive … and there's always Linux. The big companies that hold on to old technology have the resources to upgrade, too. At worst, they could make a little cut into those huge executive salaries to pay for the upgrade.
You missed my point a bit; I said "if they can" and you also make it sound like Google is struggling financially (Maybe they could start selling Mastodons on the side). What I'm suggesting is keeping the simple html versions like gmail for slow connections etc. Its perfectly understandable that some if not all of the Google apps will require newer technologies and will not be able to support older technologies.
Of course this is not the case as the did say they will support up to the last three generations of the browsers. So overall I think its a good move.
Overall it's a good move but I think Google does it in a nasty way because they simply state their web pages may stop working in those older browsers. The proper way to go is graceful degradation - sure, it takes a little bit more work but not as much as striving for full support. If someone uses an older browser they don't necessarily die for cutting edge html 5 gimmicks like file drag&drop - just make the small effort to ensure these features simply don't work in older browsers without breaking general usability.
Apart from that, not all google inventions requiring newest browsers are really more user-friendly than their older plain-html counterparts. Take for example the new image search result page - unreliable and jittery scrollbar, slower scrolling, no back button support, no visible information about image origin - I just can't see the point.
I think it is a good move because it forces users to move to new browsers such as Firefox or Google Chrome. I am not sure as to why people still use old browsers, other than the fact that they cannot find the time to update it.
By the time the web is really ready for features like that, I'd expect the older browsers we are talking about to be long gone. Perhaps I'm wrong …
Huh, I've not found that at all. Works fine for me.
Go 380k pageload for a dozen static links, one presentational image and one form! (sheesh, no wonder they keep having to build new data centers)
I swear, it's like they're forgetting what made them great in the first place... though they're so well established that at this stage of the game they could take a dump in a waffle cone, call it ice cream and people would yum it up. Remember what I was saying about the dark future of the internet? THERE IT IS. Bloated ******** for nothing other than wasting bandwidth and cutting into their own profits thanks to their own coders ineptitude.
... and then we wonder why ISP's are trying to implement pay as you go in most every market more than 20 miles from a backbone.
Devils advocate response ...
They're relying on almost every bodies browsers already having that data cached. A single visit to store the cached data and the download is done and dusted. Even if the user clears their browser cache, the chances are that their ISP has already cached it anyway in which case it wouldn't Google's servers anyway.
It only means Google will not test their services with very old browsers. But they may still work. Anyway, I think it is about time that browsers made in 2006 (IE7) go away.
For the Scripting I can see that as a semi-valid way of looking at it -- except that then it's wasting everyone else's storage space and with a 20-40 meg default cache size in most browsers, it's just as likely to get flushed if you visit enough sites.
It does NOT explain the completely nonsensical bandwidth wasting 39k of markup for less than half a k of plaintext and one form! That just screams ineptitude of the highest order and if you look under the hood, it's all inlined CSS, static scripts, redundant attributes and a nasty case of "not every ejaculation deserves a name"!!! They want to leverage cache, maybe they should consider writing code to do so!
It's turning into such a bloated mess I'm starting to look at Bing as a practical alternative just because it's 100k smaller and loads twice as fast now! SHOCKING given the giant stupid image they put behind the main page for it!
Agreed. Where I work (over 1000 employees), we're in the middle of upgrading from IE6 to IE8, but more than half are still on the old system and we don't yet know when it will finish going through. I'm sure we're not alone in this!
Businesses will have to review their policies, and be pragmatic about what can and can't be allowed. If a company's essential email functionality stops working because of a niggling IT policy, most businesses will take the sensible approach.
The main reason people are using old browsers are (i) old computers that don't support newer versions, either because the OS doesn't or just because they are too low spec, (ii) corporate networks where upgrading the browser can be a major job, particularly if using an older OS.
I doubt it would affect their resource usage though, as most of their resources would be used for processing search queries, their static page content would create negligible load for them in comparison.
I don't disagree in the slightest that their main site code is totally borked though. I have no idea why they write it the way they do.
next page →