Google will soon drop support for IE8 on Google Apps – XP users take note

Google is keeping to its promise by dropping support for Internet Explorer 8 on Google Apps. The reason for this dates back to a blog post made last year when Google stated that only the current version and immediate prior version will be supported of any browser. At the moment that means both IE8 and IE9 are supported. Next month Microsoft will be launching Internet Explorer 10 (26th Oct 2012) which means that supported versions after that on Google Apps will be IE9 or IE10 with support for IE8 dropping out.

Dropping IE8 could cause problems for some users

Dropping a version of a browser isn’t really big news as it only prompts the user to update to a more modern, faster and more secure version of the browser. The problem lies with Windows XP… you see, the latest version of Internet Explorer that will run on that operating system is Internet Explorer 8. At the moment, 42% of Windows users are on XP which means that a large number of them will struggle to access Google Apps. Although Apps will likely work there will be some functions that will not and as time goes on and technology advances there will be more warnings and errors as well as things that simply do not work within apps.

What can XP users do to carry on working with Google Apps?

There are several options. If you use Windows XP at home then one option is to install another browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari. The latest versions of those will run and will fully support Google Apps on Windows XP.

If you are a corporate user then unfortunately you are at the mercy of your IT team and management above them. Some companies might already have plans in place, specifically those companies that utilise Google Apps. An option here is to also install one of the other browsers, but some companies will not allow you to do that yourself.

Perhaps the easiest option is to use a “new to me” plugin called Google Chrome Frame. Google Chrome Frame is a free plugin that gets installed on older versions of Internet Explorer and allows you to use those older versions of IE while utilising more modern web browser features. As the name suggests, you are running Google Chrome in a frame on Internet Explorer.

In my opinion, the best option is to try install another browser such as Chrome and if that doesn’t work, try use the Google Chrome Frame plugin mentioned above.

As for the lifespan of Windows XP, Microsoft has currently listed the end of life data as April 2014 which means that after that point there will be no more security updates and development work done. Perhaps now is a good time to plan saving for a new computer within the next 18 or so months although I have to admit that I still use Windows XP on some computers and still think it works extremely good. It’s a shame to see it killed off although in 2014 it is far over a decade old which is quite an impressive life span.

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