For Google Apps users, a dependable Web browser is key to accessing and using their files and documents in the cloud. For Apps users who are still browsing with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9, that means they will have to upgrade soon to IE 10 or 11, the two latest versions of IE, to be able to continue to access and work on their files using Google Apps.
That’s because Google will soon end its support for Apps using IE9 as it transitions users to the two latest versions of IE, according to a Nov. 5 post on the Google Apps Updates Blog.
“We would like to remind you of the Google Apps browser support policy, the set of guidelines for Google Apps services interoperability support,” the post states. “We support the latest version of Google Chrome (which automatically updates whenever it detects that a new version of the browser is available) as well as the current and prior major release of Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari on a rolling basis. Each time a new version of one of these browsers is released, we begin supporting the update and stop supporting the third-oldest version.”
In this case, since Microsoft has unveiled IE11, the IE9 version will lose support for Apps under Google’s succession plan.
“Google’s test plans have been adjusted to now stop all testing and engineering work related to Internet Explorer 9 (IE9), as Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) was released on 17 October 2013,” the post states. “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 a [pop-up] page with information about modern browsers and how to upgrade to them.”
The upcoming changes affect users of Google Apps for Business, Education, and Government, according to Google.
The last time that Google Apps made a similar transition was in September 2012, when IE8 users had to make the same transition to either IE9 or IE10 as Google Apps dropped support for the IE8 version of the browser, according to an earlier eWEEK report.
The current IE10 version of the browser will be supported by Google Apps until a future IE12 is released.
The Google Apps policy of supporting only the latest browsers began in June 2011 as big changes were beginning to arrive from new Web standards, such as HTML5. Newer, modern browser versions support many new capabilities that are not possible using older, outdated browsers, according to Google.
The changes mean that users who are still running older browsers and even older computer-operating systems will have to make decisions on what to do if they want to continue to use Google Apps. For users who are still running Windows XP machines, IE8 was the last of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browsers that would run on the soon-to-be-retired operating system. IE9, IE10 and IE11 weren’t built to operate on XP. That means that XP users—and there are still plenty of them out there—must upgrade their operating systems and browsers if they want to keep using Google Apps.
Google Apps Soon Ending Support for IE9 Users
Windows XP SP3 will no longer be supported in any way by Microsoft starting April 8, 2014, according to Microsoft. As of that date, there will be no new Windows XP security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates.
When Google Apps dropped support for myriad older browsers such as Firefox 3.5, Internet Explorer 7 and Safari 3 in August 2011, users were told by Google that they “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.”
In December 2012, Google dropped its then-free Google Apps for Business services. Google made the move after deciding that most business users were quickly outgrowing it and signing up for paid accounts that offered additional services. The paid Google Apps for Business accounts started in 2007 when Google began charging $50 per user annually, a fee that provided larger inbox mail storage, access to Google APIs to allow businesses to build custom apps and other extra services. Google also added apps versions specifically aimed at governments, universities and schools.
In October 2012, Google added some key benefits—phone and email support—for paying customers of its Google Apps services when they are accessed through Google’s Chrome Web browser. That means that Google Apps for Business, Education and Government customers can get direct support on Chrome installation, functionality, security, browser policy settings and Google Apps interoperability for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Customers with free Google Apps accounts are not eligible for phone or email support, but can continue to use Google’s free online help services and forums.