Two and a half years ago, Google stopped supporting Internet Explorer 6, and web developers everywhere breathed a sigh of relief. They, too, were soon able to justify dropping support for the browser and its rather... unique interpretation of web standards.
Well, now it seems Internet Explorer 8 is next on the chopping block—despite being much better-behaved as far as standards support goes. The latest post on the official Google Apps blog states curtly:
Internet Explorer 10 launches on 10/26/2012, and as a result, we will discontinue support for Internet Explorer 8 shortly afterwards, on 11/15/2012. After this date users accessing Google Apps services using Internet Explorer 8 will see a message recommending that they upgrade their browser.
The Google Apps suite includes Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, Google Drive, so it sounds like a lot of folks are going to be seeing that message come October.
According to the latest statistics from Net Applications, Internet Explorer 8 is the most popular single browser version on the web right now, with a 25.27% usage share. IE9 is second with 18.4%, followed by Chrome 21 and Firefox 14 with 14.5% and 12.7% usage shares, respectively. Getting a quarter of all web users to upgrade their browser may not be easy, but if anyone's going to do it, Google likely has a pretty good shot.