Google discontinuing support for old browsers

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yash
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Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby yash » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:12 pm UTC

Sorry if this is in the wrong forum, but I think it is news, even if it's a tad late. :3

http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2011/06/our-plans-to-support-modern-browsers.html

Spoiler:
Our plans to support modern browsers across Google Apps
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.

For this reason, soon Google Apps will only support modern browsers. Beginning August 1st, we’ll support the current and prior major release of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari on a rolling basis. Each time a new version is released, we’ll begin supporting the update and stop supporting the third-oldest version.

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.

So if it’s been a a while since your last update, we encourage you to get the latest version of your favorite browser. There are many to choose from:
Chrome
Firefox
Internet Explorer
Safari
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.

Posted by Venkat Panchapakesan, Vice President of Engineering

What do you think? Because although I (as well as most readers here, I'd imagine) would be fine, and think I'm in support of this, is it
1) necessary?
2) too harsh for schools/students in those schools, with horrible outdated browsers?
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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby skeptical scientist » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:27 pm UTC

yash wrote:2) too harsh for schools/students in those schools, with horrible outdated browsers?

Schools can update their browsers just like everyone else, and should.
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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby KnightExemplar » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:34 pm UTC

How is this different from... anything... that has happened in the last 30 years?

You use Javascript, and your web service no longer works on eLinks. If you use "http" it no longer works on Gopher. :-p True, there were schools and universities that used these technologies, but eventually, some technologies will die, new ones will get invented. IT has always been a problem of keeping your aging infrastructure up to date with what all the cool kids are doing, or else your IT becomes worthless.
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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:55 pm UTC

I have no problem with this. People can simply update their browsers. I mean seriously, you can get IE 9 on windows XP.
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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby Hawknc » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:56 pm UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:
yash wrote:2) too harsh for schools/students in those schools, with horrible outdated browsers?

Schools can update their browsers just like everyone else, and should.

Preeeetty much, yeah. I was still using IE6 until the beginning of the year because it worked well enough that corporate IT didn't feel the need to upgrade it. Especially since web browsers are largely free, there should be no reason not to keep them up to date.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Jun 04, 2011 12:59 pm UTC

Hawknc wrote:
skeptical scientist wrote:
yash wrote:2) too harsh for schools/students in those schools, with horrible outdated browsers?

Schools can update their browsers just like everyone else, and should.

Preeeetty much, yeah. I was still using IE6 until the beginning of the year because it worked well enough that corporate IT didn't feel the need to upgrade it.


You need IT to update your browser? That seems like a rather restrictive workplace.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby Hawknc » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:44 pm UTC

It is extraordinarily common for companies, particularly large ones, to restrict or prevent entirely installation of software that isn't approved. It's frustrating, but I don't own the hardware so it's not unreasonable.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby kiklion » Sat Jun 04, 2011 1:56 pm UTC

It is not uncommon to not allow users to install software on the computers. I believe updating a browser constitutes installing software.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:30 pm UTC

That seems unnecessarily controlling. My bosses don't care if I install World of Warcraft on my computer, but I guess that's an advantage of working for a small tech company. That kind of thing is why I hope never to work a company that doesn't fit in one building.
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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby AvatarIII » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:46 pm UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:
yash wrote:2) too harsh for schools/students in those schools, with horrible outdated browsers?

Schools can update their browsers just like everyone else, and should.


i work for a big corperation and we still use IE6, it sucks, we just recently upgraded from office XP to '07, and from lotus notes to outllook express 07 for email and we STILL use IE6,

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby Robot_Raptor » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:50 pm UTC

AvatarIII wrote:
skeptical scientist wrote:
yash wrote:2) too harsh for schools/students in those schools, with horrible outdated browsers?

Schools can update their browsers just like everyone else, and should.


i work for a big corperation and we still use IE6, it sucks, we just recently upgraded from office XP to '07, and from lotus notes to outllook express 07 for email and we STILL use IE6,


You horrible people, a place I interned at forced everyone to use IE6 because one piece of proprietary software was designed around it and wouldn't upgrade.

I sincerely hope they have in the meantime, and am mightily glad i work at a place that controls the whole stack and can dictate to our clients what browser they use.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby duckshirt » Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:59 pm UTC

I've heard of that before, but it still seems a little ridiculous for a workplace, and would they really turn down requests for a new browser? Everywhere I've worked has either had some kind of software like Novell to allow people to install things but still keep the network secure, or was too small of a company to care. My high school was like that, though, but fortunately Firefox was already installed.
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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby yash » Sat Jun 04, 2011 4:50 pm UTC

So I guess it depends on whether workplaces are forced to upgrade, or just don't and leave staff/students/etc without access? It just feels kind of risky, then, for the user?
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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby TheStrongest » Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:42 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:That seems unnecessarily controlling. My bosses don't care if I install World of Warcraft on my computer, but I guess that's an advantage of working for a small tech company. That kind of thing is why I hope never to work a company that doesn't fit in one building.


You think that's restrictive? My school doesn't even allow students to right-click and delete files in their personal folders. It all has to be done by clicking "delete this file." We also can't delete more than one object at a time.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Jun 04, 2011 5:49 pm UTC

TheStrongest wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:That seems unnecessarily controlling. My bosses don't care if I install World of Warcraft on my computer, but I guess that's an advantage of working for a small tech company. That kind of thing is why I hope never to work a company that doesn't fit in one building.


You think that's restrictive? My school doesn't even allow students to right-click and delete files in their personal folders. It all has to be done by clicking "delete this file." We also can't delete more than one object at a time.


What idiotic software do they have that manages permissions for that shit? Those are arbitrary and unnecessary restrictions unless a really poor coder is involved somewhere.
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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby Eseell » Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:16 pm UTC

duckshirt wrote:I've heard of that before, but it still seems a little ridiculous for a workplace, and would they really turn down requests for a new browser? Everywhere I've worked has either had some kind of software like Novell to allow people to install things but still keep the network secure, or was too small of a company to care. My high school was like that, though, but fortunately Firefox was already installed.

We have a lot of homegrown applications where I work. Some of them were coded around specific limitations of older browsers and no longer work in IE8 or 9, and never worked at all in Firefox or Opera or Chrome. You could say that this is the result of lazy and/or poor coding and you'd be right. That doesn't change the fact that there are a lot of applications that all have to be audited and rebuilt before we can update browsers across the entire organization.
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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby Tirian » Sat Jun 04, 2011 6:53 pm UTC

Eseell wrote:You could say that this is the result of lazy and/or poor coding and you'd be right.


I think you'd also be right if you said that it was a consequence of the browser|office suite|programming language|operating system publishing an interface that the clients trusted and then failing to honor it in future versions.

I guess I think that it would be a good thing for large institutions if we were more upfront on the life cycle of software products. If they fully understood that the browser they were migrating to today would be retired in three years or seven years or whatever the vendor agreed to, then they could make intelligent plans about how tightly to integrate their workflow into the browser over that lifetime and they could "amortize" their browser the same way they would a copying machine or a factory or any other asset they depend on.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby sourmìlk » Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:17 pm UTC

Or they could use cross-browser, cross-platform software like the kind developed by BP Logix, a company with which there is no reason to assume I have any personal or professional bias towards.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby achan1058 » Sat Jun 04, 2011 9:39 pm UTC

I personally think this isn't drastic enough. There needs to be some way to force them off these browsers since they are rather dangerous to the users. I suppose we will need to find a big enough exploit, and have the browser companies intentionally not fix it, to force people off.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby brume » Sat Jun 04, 2011 10:08 pm UTC

I work for one of the larger agencies in one of the larger states in the US. The *entire* interface between me and said state must be conducted in.........IE6. Time sheets, insurance, retirement...bad enough, but all our accounting and project management systems are online now, and IT has to code it all to function first in IE6.

Which is why IE6 is still around.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby LaserGuy » Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:02 am UTC

...

My computer at work uses Windows 2000 and IE5. FireFox is relatively up-to-date though.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:13 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:...

My computer at work uses Windows 2000 and IE5

O_O

I haven't used 5.5 in a decade.
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby Hemmers » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:32 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Hawknc wrote:
skeptical scientist wrote:
yash wrote:2) too harsh for schools/students in those schools, with horrible outdated browsers?

Schools can update their browsers just like everyone else, and should.

Preeeetty much, yeah. I was still using IE6 until the beginning of the year because it worked well enough that corporate IT didn't feel the need to upgrade it.


You need IT to update your browser? That seems like a rather restrictive workplace.


It's really common with hot desking, communal university IT rooms and the like.
You login at any computer, and get a standard desktop. The only personal stuff is the contents of your documents folder.
Many places also install software on-demand - it saves on license keys. Some people will be logging in just to check email, so don't need Office. If you do need Word, it allocates you a key from the licence bank and installs Word for you then and there.
It also tends to come with very restrictive permissions so people can't install dubious software. What it means however is you don't get anything better than IE6 until 2008 when they get around to updating everything.
Not surprisingly, the Electronics and Computer Science school ran its own sub-network, which gave ECS students about 100 times more filestore than the rest of us, a far better mail service, and current software.

The staff with their own dedicated computers in their labs and offices can do what they like, but anyone using comunal facilities gets what IT allows them.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:26 pm UTC

So, what exactly does IT do at a company? Shouldn't one of their primary jobs be to upgrade software as necessary?
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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:54 pm UTC

No, their primary job is providing the tools people need without fuss or troubles. Switching to something new increases to risk of trouble, so you do not do that if the old version still works OK. Upgrading for the sake of upgrading is for hobbyists.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Jun 05, 2011 1:56 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:No, their primary job is providing the tools people need without fuss or troubles. Switching to something new increases to risk of trouble, so you do not do that if the old version still works OK. Upgrading for the sake of upgrading is for hobbyists.


Upgrades exist (in theory) to provide increased security and usability to the users of the software. If the IT department wants to minimize fuss and trouble, shouldn't they make it so that users aren't using old pieces of shit software?
Terry Pratchett wrote:The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:05 pm UTC

Stuff that works without fuss isn't shitty software, by definition. New, shiny, Now With Extra Features software might be shit, or not. You do not know that in advance. And people still need to learn to use the new stuff, which costs time and money too.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:07 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Stuff that works without fuss isn't shitty software, by definition. New, shiny, Now With Extra Features software might be shit, or not. You do not know that in advance. And people still need to learn to use the new stuff, which costs time and money too.

People have to learn how to use new software? It seems that, once you know one word processor or browser you know them all
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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:17 pm UTC

Yeah, for the basics that's true. That's why people are mostly very happy with Word 2000 and IE6, and won't upgrade unless there is good reason. And why developers try putting in new bells and whistles to lure people to upgrades anyway.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby Ubik » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:20 pm UTC

Not everyone who uses computers at their job actually are computer-oriented people, and for those people the "minor differences" actually are very easily quite big. They should also be able to actually do their jobs instead of googling for how to do that everyday thing* that has a different process in the newer version of software X. So training would have to be arranged which means loss of money as training isn't free and work hours are used for something that isn't productive in itself.

Anyway, the already mentioned problem of software and plugins locked to some specific browser version is a quite big problem as far as I know. The newer browser might be free in itself, but migrating big business software can be much harder - there can be a decade worth of database information and stuff that can't just be thrown away.

* Also, that everyday thing isn't necessarily one of the everyday things that an individual user faces, one of the basic features.
Last edited by Ubik on Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:23 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:22 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:That's why people are mostly very happy with Word 2000 and IE6, and won't upgrade unless there is good reason.

Security? HTML 5? Ability to draw any page more complicated than a geocites one? Tabs?

Ubik wrote:there can be a decade worth of database information and stuff that can't just be thrown away.

Why would you delete the database? What does that have to do with upgrading browsers? And what kind of minor changes are we talking about?
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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby Ubik » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:32 pm UTC

Let's imagine there is a browser-based software for some boring but important thing, like accounting. It just happens to be so that the JScripted UI is full of stuff that only IE6 supports. Now, let's upgrade all browsers of the organization and poof, the system becomes practically inaccessible and money doesn't flow anymore. While the old software hasn't literally been thrown away, it's about as good at this point.

As for the minor changes, it can vary from button and menu item positions to the structure of some sticker-printing dialog in Word. Word is actually somewhat relevant to the original topic too, because some of the browser-specific stuff involves integration plugins with other software, like our favorite word processor.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:36 pm UTC

Ubik wrote:As for the minor changes, it can vary from button and menu item positions to the structure of some sticker-printing dialog in Word. Word is actually somewhat relevant to the original topic too, because some of the browser-specific stuff involves integration plugins with other software, like our favorite word processor.


Wait, menu item position? Should people to stupid to actually read text and look at buttons instead of memorizing their positions be employed?
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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:50 pm UTC

Some companies that think they really need HTML5 and tabs and god knows what, so they switch browsers a lot. Other companies do not switch, so apparently they do not think those things important. Some companies stick to very old systems (browsers or whatever) because of legacy software that works with it.

That's not something we made up, it's something we have seen happen a lot out there. Presumably, its not because the people in charge of big firm's IT departments are all idiots who never heard of security holes or tabbed browsing. You seem to be arguing that they are all wrong and you are right, even though they probably understand their firms' needs almost as good as you do.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby jakovasaur » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:52 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:
Ubik wrote:As for the minor changes, it can vary from button and menu item positions to the structure of some sticker-printing dialog in Word. Word is actually somewhat relevant to the original topic too, because some of the browser-specific stuff involves integration plugins with other software, like our favorite word processor.


Wait, menu item position? Should people to stupid to actually read text and look at buttons instead of memorizing their positions be employed?

Why is it so hard for you to understand things?

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:57 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Some companies that think they really need HTML5 and tabs and god knows what, so they switch browsers a lot. Other companies do not switch, so apparently they do not think those things important. Some companies stick to very old systems (browsers or whatever) because of legacy software that works with it.

That's not something we made up, it's something we have seen happen a lot out there. Presumably, its not because the people in charge of big firm's IT departments are all idiots who never heard of security holes or tabbed browsing. You seem to be arguing that they are all wrong and you are right, even though they probably understand their firms' needs almost as good as you do.

Not really, I'm just bemused by the existence of software that can be considered to work even though its a decade old. What, exactly, does this software do?

jakovasaur wrote:Why is it so hard for you to understand things?

I don't know what you're referring to.
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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby Ubik » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:01 pm UTC

In reply to sourmìlk about the button example:

That's pretty extreme case, but some people do get really confused when they see a revamped UI even if the changes are not so big. I don't know how they have the stuff memorized so I can't comment on specifics - I'd say that probably not in a very abstracted way. Still, not everyone who is bad or just not very good with computers is stupid. The value of those people (as workers) also lies in their ability to do their job and not their ability to use any software fluently. And those two things are not the same even though computers are crucially important tools in many places these days.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby Zamfir » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:07 pm UTC

sourmìlk wrote:Not really, I'm just bemused by the existence of software that can be considered to work even though its a decade old. What, exactly, does this software do?

WIndows XP you mean? It's an operating system for things called PCs. It's a lot like Windows 7, except the windows are not see-through and the start button is a rectangle instead of a circle.

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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby sourmìlk » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:16 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
sourmìlk wrote:Not really, I'm just bemused by the existence of software that can be considered to work even though its a decade old. What, exactly, does this software do?

WIndows XP you mean? It's an operating system for things called PCs. It's a lot like Windows 7, except the windows are not see-through and the start button is a rectangle instead of a circle.

My knowledge was the Windows XP was unsecure and buggy. Then again, being a linux user, I wouldn't know
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Re: Google discontinuing support for old browsers

Postby Endless Mike » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:21 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:WIndows XP you mean? It's an operating system for things called PCs. It's a lot like Windows 7, except the windows are not see-through and the start button is a rectangle instead of a circle.

It also actually says "Start" on it. My company is currently switching from XP to Windows 7, and I had one of the less technically-oriented people ask me where My Computer went. But yeah, fully-managed PCs are pretty common, really.


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