The Google Apps team just announced that support for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 web browser will end on November 15, 2012. This falls in line with last year’s announcement that the service will only support the latest version of a web browser and the prior version. When a new major version gets released, support for the third oldest version is discontinued.
Microsoft will release Internet Explorer 10 on October 26, the day the Windows 8 operating system is launched to the public. The new major version and Internet Explorer 9 are from that moment on supported by Google Apps, while Internet Explorer 8 support is dropped.
This has implications for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 users, as Microsoft has not made available Internet Explorer upgrades for their systems. While that does not mean that these users can’t access Google Apps at all, they will receive a message recommending to upgrade the browser. Since XP users do not have upgrade options available to them, they are in a predicament.
As we announced last year, we support the latest version of Google Chrome (which automatically updates whenever it detects that a new version of the browser is available) as well as the current and prior major release of Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari on a rolling basis. Each time a new version of one of these browsers is released, we begin supporting the update and stop supporting the third-oldest version.
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.
Organizations and individual users relying on Internet Explorer 8 may install the Google Chrome Frame plugin in the web browser to overcome the issue.
Internet Explorer 8 is not the only browser that Google Apps is not supporting officially. Google is for instance not supporting any version of the Opera web browser, Internet Explorer 6 or 7, Firefox 3.6, Firefox 4, or any version of the browser lower than Firefox 14 with the exception of the Firefox ESR release.
Users running unsupported browser versions may experience issues when using Google Apps. Presentations in Google Docs for instance do not display properly in Firefox 3.6, and Gmail’s new look does not work at all in unsupported web browsers.
The move may provide Google with yet another option to market the company’s own web browser Google Chrome to Internet Explorer users.