IE7, Firefox 3.5 to be dumped by Google Apps this summer

Google must have found it pretty liberating to give IE6 the “it’s not you, it’s me” talk last year, because three other browsers are about to get the same treatment. The company has updated its Enterprise Blog with news that, starting on August 1, 2011, it will discontinue support for Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 3.5, and Safari 3 across its Google Apps suite.

At first, users running these browsers may not be able to work certain features in web apps like Gmail and Google Docs. Eventually, though, Google says some of those apps “may stop working entirely.”

Dumping IE7 so soon seems fairly radical. IE6 was close to nine years old by the time Google stopped supporting it, but IE7 hasn’t even celebrated its fifth birthday yet. The two legacy browsers command a 17% combined market share, according to Net Applications. Nevertheless, Google just doesn’t want old browsers dragging down its development efforts:

For web applications to spring even farther ahead of traditional software, our teams need to make use of new capabilities available in modern browsers. For example, desktop notifications for Gmail and drag-and-drop file upload in Google Docs require advanced browsers that support HTML5. Older browsers just don’t have the chops to provide you with the same high-quality experience.

As TR’s token CSS monkey, I’m glad Google is doing its part to retire older browsers. Not having to fire up a virtual machine to test workarounds for IE7 would save me a fair amount of time. Plus, let’s face it: downloading and installing a browser update isn’t exactly difficult, and newer browsers offer undeniable performance and security benefits.

Comments closed
    • ltcommander.data
    • 8 years ago

    I support focusing on the latest technology, especially for more complex applications like Google Docs which can greatly benefit in functionality, but I think they need to be conscious of potential feature creep or bloat if they are going to make even basic webmail require the latest browsers.

    • moog
    • 8 years ago

    This is actually pretty terrible news. There is now one more reason to scale back IT departments, and there’ll be a few more families regularly going to the soup kitchen now.

      • albundy
      • 8 years ago

      shows how much you know! there are no more IT departments. companies are contracting out. welcome to 10 years ago when the dot com bubble burst.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    IE7 ha only loosers still use that one.

      • Meadows
      • 8 years ago

      My employer company does, for internal insurance-related software. It will not run on anything newer than IE7, because it needs the classic Trident engine for several reasons.

      I’ll bet my left eye though that some programmer persons are working hard to make that history.

        • albundy
        • 8 years ago

        Run it in a VM. thats what my company does. problem solved.

    • thesmileman
    • 8 years ago

    “Plus, let’s face it: downloading and installing a browser update isn’t exactly difficult,”

    Really? Because my company’s IT department acts like upgrading the browser is the equivalent of disarming a bomb while juggling vats of acid.

      • 5150
      • 8 years ago

      That’s because IT works harder than you. Deal with it.

        • thesmileman
        • 8 years ago

        Does the word “joke” mean anything to you?

          • BiffStroganoffsky
          • 8 years ago

          It means someone spiked someone’s Coke with Jolt…?

            • Meadows
            • 8 years ago

            Took me a while to get that one.

          • ludi
          • 8 years ago

          Yes…a “joke” would be the equivalent of disarming a bomb while juggling vats of acid.

    • bcronce
    • 8 years ago

    Soon enough Google might just say “HTML5 or no support”. All current browsers that support HTML5 do a very good job of standards complaints.

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      Did you mean ‘compliance’?? If so, compliance with what? – The ‘standard’ isn’t. Yet, anyway.

      OTOH, if you actually meant ‘complaints’, yeah I have a lot of them about the glacial pace of the process. But I do nothing to contribute, I just read the reports. I guess that makes me a ‘browser’ 🙂

        • bcronce
        • 8 years ago

        lawl.. yeah.. what happens when you type crap up after your just woke.

      • indeego
      • 8 years ago

      HTML5 isn’t an established standard, and won’t be for a significant period of time.

        • BlackStar
        • 8 years ago

        HTML5 is not a monolithic entity. Some parts are stable and well-supported, others are still under development.

        Current-gen browsers already support something ~80% of the new functionality, according to [url<]http://html5demos.com/,[/url<] even if the standard is not yet 'official'.

    • BlackStar
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]Dumping IE7 so soon seems fairly radical. IE6 was close to nine years old by the time Google stopped supporting it, but IE7 hasn't even celebrated its fifth birthday yet.[/quote<] And Firefox 3.5 is just 2 years old. There's no reason why IE should get special treatment anymore - you don't upgrade, you lose. Blah, blah, IT departments, blah, IE6/7 upgrade cost, blah. It's 2011: use an up-to-date browser or die in obscurity. Good riddance.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      Not sure why you got minused, but I agree. It’s pretty stupid that a corporate IT department would expose users to a lot of security vulnerabilities in the name of not updating some stupid web app.

        • kc77
        • 8 years ago

        Easy because the cost of developing a new application (because really that’s how different IE6 is vs 7 and 8) is less vs good group policy and anit virus.

        Do i think it’s a good idea to keep putting it off? No. Then again I think it’s absolutely ridiculous to code anything specifically for a MS browser since they can’t even maintain their own standards much less use ones that a community agrees on.

          • Farting Bob
          • 8 years ago

          The cost of having hundreds or even thousands of people using an old browser that is slower will add up over time to cost huge amounts of money. Just think how less productive you would be when working with IE6 or 7 for 8 hours a day, 250 days a year, compared to one of the latest generation. Even just the extra loading time, multiplied by many thousands of times results in serious money wasted waiting for programs and websites to load.

            • BlackStar
            • 8 years ago

            There are other costs, too: IE6 cannot run online collaboration tools that can save huge amounts of time (e.g. google docs for a collaborative document is easily an order of magnitude faster than word+email) and has greater support load for the IT department (viruses, broken sites, group policies).

            Since you’ll have to pay the upgrade cost anyway, better do it now than when it will be too late. Or add Chrome or Firefox which can be rolled out much easier than IE.

          • BlackStar
          • 8 years ago

          Microsoft has already shouldered this compatibility cost: it’s called IE8/9 compatibility mode. If the application cannot run in compatibility mode then it’s really broken beyond redemption and you’d better start rewriting it: 2014 is closing in and WinXP’s time is up.

          And FFS, if you need IE6 for some broken web app, just install Chrome or Firefox, add a group policy to restrict IE to that specific web app and be done with it. There really is *no* excuse.

            • indeego
            • 8 years ago

            The excuse are:

            – 3rd party vendors often won’t support newer browsers on old platforms. i.e. this is out of the hands of the company that uses their products.
            – Management doesn’t want to invest in updated third party web platforms just to keep their browwser updated.
            – Many companies rely on hundreds of products, and not all departments work with newer browsers. Are you going to upgrade accounting if it means bills don’t get sent out?

            My opinion is this will only get better with time. No companies should be buying products that are dependent on a specific browser version. I’ve seen companies move to remoteapp/citrix instead of IE, because they can control the environment much much closely and keep their uptimes stable.

            If you use smartphones/tablets in any significant fashion for a business, I feel for you. Support on those platforms ends at 18-24 months, which is insane from a testing and validation perspective. iPhone4’s hardware encryption was just broken, for example, meaning HIPPA certification was just tossed, for the most part.

            • BlackStar
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]The excuse are: - 3rd party vendors often won't support newer browsers on old platforms. i.e. this is out of the hands of the company that uses their products. - Management doesn't want to invest in updated third party web platforms just to keep their browwser updated. - Many companies rely on hundreds of products, and not all departments work with newer browsers. Are you going to upgrade accounting if it means bills don't get sent out?[/quote<] And what are these companies going to do when WinXP support stops? They can keep postponing the inevitable but sooner or later they'll have to face reality. If there is a lesson here, it's that getting tied down to a single platform is not a winning strategy.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            In my experience (and with a handful of web apps, I have alot of experience in the last couple months), even in compatibility view, IE9 is not as compatible as IE8 with older apps. It’s really strange.

            • kc77
            • 8 years ago

            Yup. That’s why I said what I said. IE in and of itself is a standards disaster. Even now there’s apps that work in 7 but not in 8 (without some trickery foolery). I wouldn’t be surprised if IE was the true reason for the push to CMS solutions because the time it takes to fix MS’s screw ups is considerable.

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