Google Sounds Death Knell for IE 6 and Chrome 3

Microsoft and Google agree on very little, but they agree on at least one thing: It's time for Internet Explorer 6 to go. Google has announced that it will drop support of IE 6 for Google Docs on March 1. More surprisingly, it will also drop support for Chrome 3.

On the Google Enterprise blog, Rajen Sheth, Google Apps Senior Product Manager, announced that Google is dropping Google Docs and Google Sites support for several older browsers, because they can't support Google Docs' and Google Sites' newest features. High on the list is Internet Explorer 6, but also included are Chrome 3, Firefox 2, and Safari 2.

Having Chrome 3 on the list is something of a surprise. It was launched not that long ago, in September, 2009, and Chrome 4 was only released in late January. So it's clear that Google is not specifically targeting Microsoft's browser as being outdated.

Google is not alone is trying to get people to stop using IE 6, and upgrade to a newer browser. Even Microsoft itself has been trying to push people to upgrade the browser. Computerworld's Gregg Keizer writes:

"Even Microsoft beat the anti-IE6 drum, although it has also admitted that the job is difficult because the old browser is still mandated by some enterprises. IE6 also accounts for half the browsers used in China, according to recent data from metrics company NetApplications.com.

"Microsoft has promised to support IE6 until April 2014, when it wraps up all support for Windows XP, the operating system tied to IE6."

Keizer also notes that many other sites are trying to get people to abandon IE 6, including Facebook, Digg, and YouTube. There's also an IE6 Must Die site and petition on Twitter that has garnered 14,000 signatures.

Ironically, an unpatched security vulnerability in IE6 is being credited as the hole through which hackers from China broke into Google recently. After the attack, security officials from France and Germany recommended that people stop using IE6.

Despite all this, it will still take a while before people give up using IE6. Computerworld notes that NetApplications says that last month 21% of users in the world used it to browse the Web. That number is down from 34% in December 2008, so the trend is clearly down. But old habits die hard...and so do old browsers, no matter what Google and Microsoft say.

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