Google urges IE6 Gmail users to switch to Firefox, Chrome

By Justin Mann on January 1, 2009, 9:47 AM
With tens of millions of users, Gmail is arguably one of Google's most successful projects to date. Besides just being cool and usually fast to access, another of the reasons Gmail has done so well is because of how it retains cross-browser and cross-platform functionality with people being able to access most of Gmail features regardless of what OS or browser they are using.

Considering the challenges to develop for legacy browsers that barely keep up with standards, it seems that Google has “preferred” browsers in mind and is officially steering people away from using Internet Explorer with Gmail.

Focusing on Internet Explorer 6 only, Gmail now serves up messages to IE6 users when they log in, telling them that by switching to a browser like Chrome or Firefox 3, their speed when interacting with Gmail will be “twice as fast”. The company pulled the same message from being displayed to IE7 users. Yet the fact they are serving up those messages at all is relevant as IE6 still represents a substantial portion of the browser market today - about 14% of users visiting TechSpot still use IE6, which is surprising when you take into account this is a tech-centric publication.

In this particular instance, steering people away from the aging browser doesn't seem to be a bad thing at all. Even Microsoft attempts to upgrade people to IE7 at every turn. Consider, however, that Google might decide to take this further in the future by offering select features to a handful of browsers of its liking, which wouldn't be as a welcomed move from our perspective.




User Comments: 6

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skitzo_zac said:
Don't MS recommend using IE 8 Betas over IE 7 anyway?But anyway its all about Opera!
captain828 said:
[quote]Consider, however, that Google might decide to take this further in the future by offering select features to a handful of browsers of its liking, which wouldn't be as a welcomed move from our perspective.[/quote]I doubt that will happen... those tens of millions of users won't be pleased, which wouldn't be good for Google also, as Google is into a lot of open source projects (including Firefox) it's highly improbable they'll do that
JerryWithaJ said:
While Google might not offer "select features to a handful of browsers of its liking" it DOES have considerable power to force browsers to adhere to HTML (and other) standards. Think of the number of pages that (used to) render well only under IE because they took advantage of non-standard IE behavior. In order for Google to "make nice" with particular browsers, both it an the browser will likely have to be ignoring some standard, which would be a bad thing for both of them.
gobbybobby said:
14% of users visiting TechSpot still use IE6, which is surprising when you take into account this is a tech-centric publication?? thats because these people visit the site from work/collage/school and only have access to IE6 because Administartors can't be asked to update the computers they control. IE7 is crap, Its Freezes, crashes frequently and does not save tabs like firefox does, the add ons to firefox are much better too, I have an add on called add blocker plus, it blocked all annoying flahing adverts from showing, speeeding up the speed the web pages load.
JDoors said:
I think Google should review the resentment MicroSoft has received in the past for "pushing" their branded product. At one time it was nearly impossible to use a browser other than IE, and when you did you'd be frequently "reminded" that "IE is not your default browser, would you like to make IE your default browser?" The workaround was unintuitive. Now Google, like MS in the past, is "reminding" people to use their product? Uh, yeah, we KNOW about Chrome, we're not stupid. If we're not using it it's NOT because you forgot to tell us about it often enough. And if you make Crome-specific features, I'll bet you'll lose customers who, for whatever reason, CHOOSE not to use it.
tengeta said:
Why doesn't it tell them to upgrade to a more recent IE, chances are if they are still using IE they don't want to move to something else. Sounds more like an advertising ploy than an actual issue.Then again, people are still blind to see Google and Microsoft doing the same things. I bet 99% of the people who complain about "big brother Microsoft spying on me" have Google as their default and only search engine.
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