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Google Apps Stops Support for IE 9

Google announced on Tuesday that it has ended integration work with Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 browser.

Google's engineering team stopped testing Google Apps with IE 9 because of Microsoft's release last month of Internet Explorer 11. Google's policy is to support only the current and prior releases of browsers, according to the announcement. Consequently, per that policy, Google Apps is currently supported only on Microsoft's IE 11 and IE 10 browsers.

The company's browser support policy was established more than two years ago, originally because some older browsers lacked HTML 5 support needed for some Google Apps functions. The policy applies equally to Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Microsoft Internet Explorer browsers. However, it's more problematic for Microsoft's browser releases, which arrive with Windows releases about once a year now. In contrast, Google, Mozilla and Apple all release their browser updates on a continual basis, so users tend to have the most up-to-date versions.

A notification service will alert users if they happen to be using unsupported browsers to run Google Apps.

"End users who access Gmail and other Google Apps services from an unsupported browser will be notified within the next few weeks through an in-product notification message or an interstitial pages with information about modern browsers and how to upgrade to them," according to Google's announcement.

As noted by the Browsium blog, IE 8, which Google stopped supporting a year ago, is still the most used version of Internet Explorer out there at 22 percent, followed by IE 10 (19 percent) and IE 9 (nine percent). Browsium, which makes products that address legacy browser issues, released its Ion 3.0 product last month, which lets users run older Web apps on newer versions of Internet Explorer.

While Google has a firm cut-off cycle with regard to browser support, its policy is more lax regarding operating systems. For instance, last month, Google indicated that it plans to support its Google Chrome browser on Windows XP about a year after Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP in April 2014. That means that Google will continue to patch its Chrome browser until April 2015 even while that browser runs on Microsoft's unpatched and potentially insecure OS.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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