Google announced last week Google Apps will begin phasing out support for outdated web browsers. Beginning August 1st, only the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari are to be supported.
The reason? Google wants to make it’s web apps more “desktop-like,” with features such as drag-and-drop and active notifications.
These advanced features require HTML 5, and you’ll need a modern browser if you want to use them. “Older browsers just don’t have the chops to provide you with the same high-quality experience,” says Venkat Panchapakesan, Google’s vice president of engineering, in a recent blog post.
As of August 1st, Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 3.5, Safari 3, and earlier versions of these browsers will no longer be supported in Google Apps. Users will notice certain features such as Google Talk, Google Calendar, and Docs failing to run properly, and eventually all Apps services will stop functioning. “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,” writes Panchapakesan.
Mozilla has already announced plans to update Firefox 3.5 to 3.6 automatically. Chrome and Safari users are automatically updated as well. Internet Explorer users will have to obtain the latest version from Windows Update. Keeping your browser updated not only provides more functionality, but also receive improved protection against exploits and security holes.
Internet Explorer’s lack of automatic update functionality often leaves users using older version for far longer than intended. Microsoft even went as far as to release ie6countdown.com, warning users that they need to upgrade or be left in the cold. At last count, 10.9% of the world is still using Internet Explorer 6.