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back to article Google stays tight-lipped on IE9 Gmail, Apps death sentence

Google seems to have U-turned on providing Gmail and Google Apps support for Microsoft customers glued to an increasingly outdated version of the ever-unpopular Internet Explorer browser. Gmail, Apps, Apps for Business and Education, and Analytics currently look set to continue supporting three versions of IE: IE11, IE10 and IE9 …

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Trollface

They're...

...probably so peeved at Microsoft at the moment*, that they cannot string together a coherent sentence!

* Internet Explorer 11 BREAKS Google, Outlook Web Access: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/10/21/internet_explorer_11_breaks_google_outlook_web_access/

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Anonymous Coward

No inconsistency...

If IE11 was a Google product, it would be labelled "Beta". Google don't need to follow the 2 versions rule until IE11 looks like a stable product.

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Standards compliance rules all

Given that IE9 was Microsoft's first stab at a standards-compliant browser it would not be surprising for IE9 to continue to perform well for the foreseeable future, even if Google abandon official support for the browser. This is the advantage of going standards-compliant.

Also, just a Firefox 3.x die hards accepted that rolling updates to browsers aren't such a bad idea, I predict that businesses will be less resistant to Microsoft browser updates in future. Provided, of course, that Microsoft stick to standards-compliance.

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Re: continue to perform well even if Google abandon official support

But in the article it states that when Google stop running on old browsers they only render you a message telling you to update (to chrome, probably). So it doesn't matter how standards compliant you are, if they see a version no. they don't like you don't get the site, just a nag message... Not what I'd call performing well.

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No.

"if they see a version no. they don't like you don't get the site, just a nag message"

You get a nag message and limited functionality. They don't remove your access completely.

"In general, Gmail supports the current and prior major release of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari on a rolling basis. If you use a browser other than those listed below, you'll be automatically directed to the basic HTML view of Gmail."

https://support.google.com/mail/answer/6557

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Thumb Up

Re: No.

Sounds good. In fact, sounds better than the current nearly-ready beta! Might be worth spoofing an older user agent just to get a robust, reliable version of the site! Thanks!

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Re: Standards compliance rules all

" I predict that businesses will be less resistant to Microsoft browser updates in future. Provided, of course, that Microsoft stick to standards-compliance."

I think you'll find that many businesses are running XP and therefore Microsoft aren't providing any browser updates, rolling or otherwise. Still, there are several decent free-as-in-beer alternatives, so I don't suppose most businesses give a monkey's what MS do or don't offer.

On the subject of compliance, BTW, am I alone in thinking that most of the problems now are caused by *sites* deliberately breaking themselves in different ways for the imagined benefit of user agents that would, now, actually be much happier with standards-compliant HTML?

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Re: Standards compliance rules all

"...am I alone in thinking that most of the problems now are caused by *sites* deliberately breaking themselves..."

Hell no you're not. The list just keeps growing for me. In some cases I even see the page itself load just fine, then bitch and fall back on some fullscreen <div> that wants me to enable javascript. Of course, now I'm seeing more "HTML 5" compliant messages being handled the same way for no reason at all.

And then...HTML "Apps". I'm seeing ever increasing "apps" that just load like shit. They could literally load almost instantly and work faster if they were not deployed in an "app" manner, but just plain HTML 4 + Javascript.

With the ever increasing HTML 5 "app" count on the web, I'm starting to see a trend of increased bloatware that boomed so brightly in the VB 6.0/JDK 1.2 era. The more I see what HTML 5 can do, the more I'm reminded of the "Ask Jeeves" toolbar.

Looking forward, maybe C module support is the way to go...ggle

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No.

They might be trying to display a nag message and provide limited functionality but with the old version of Firefox I'm running (on a work computer that I'd rather not fiddle with at the moment seeing as access to gmail is not part of my job) it doesn't work properly. It took me a while to work out how to gain access to the simple interface with limited functionality. I have to use this URL: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/h/

I have a similar problem with Tesco Bank: I have to manually enter a fairly complex URL in order to get the opportunity of logging on, which, as Reg readers know, is a dangerous procedure that can sometimes result in a criminal conviction.

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Re: No.

I know what you mean - most annoying for me are web sites that insist on presenting their mobile version to me on my more than capable tablet.

You end up with some huge fonted simplistic site more reminiscent of the WAP era...

Browser sniffing.... Sigh... It's like the 90's all over again...

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Re: I predict that businesses will be less resistant to Microsoft browser updates

Assuming you've made the switch to IE9 and IE11 is actually implementing standards (which it doesn't sound like it does) that is true.

The problem is, not all companies or government agencies can make the switch. The one where I currently perform support duties is stuck with IE8 despite its age because at least three different pieces of financial software depend on it. So across the day I pretty much run three browsers: IE8 for specific support tasks, Firefox for my miscellaneous browsing, and Chrome for my government GMail and calendaring functions. From a techs' perspective I'd love to upgrade to IE9 or IE10, but that would break the "business."

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Windows

Pffft

My company has 30,000 + employees in the U.S. alone and we are still stuck with IE 8....

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Re: Pffft

"Pffft

My company has 30,000 + employees in the U.S. alone and we are still stuck with IE 8...."

*Joke-Alert icon*

Well, if it's your company, do something about it!

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Re: Pffft

+1 NMCI has us in a pickle at the moment. As of yesterday, we can not use any Google services as a signed in user...

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IE9

Our company only just managed to upgrade us to IE9. They've effectively given up and support IE9 for internal web apps, and let us install Google Chrome for anything else!

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JDX
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Daft

To do it based on N versions, rather than features. FF updates every few weeks it seems like and if IE9 supports the features they need...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Daft

If only there was some way to distinguish a maintenance release from a substantial functional changes type release.

Maybe the former could be called 'minor' releases, and the latter 'major'. It'd probably warrant a slightly different numbering scheme from the current single number arrangement. Maybe decimal style?

Meh, it'll never catch on.

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Re: Daft

"Meh, it'll never catch on."

Sarcasm noted, but actually I think there's a real effect here. The IT industry has convinced itself that change is Good. Therefore, as soon as a concept becomes well understood and properly implemented, you can be sure of two things:

There will be a "next major version" and every trick in the book will be used to force you to upgrade.

All the bits that work, will be changed, because that is good, even if that means making them bad.

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Re: Daft

"The IT industry has convinced itself that change is Good."

As long as you understand that "change" in this case it to never really change at all, but as you imply, just change nibbles here and there.

IT is stuck in a conservative rut. There is so many like minded people doing the same thing that there seems to be some sort of rotational groove being carved by these money wielding minions. 1 entity does 1 thing every 10 years (usually for free), then for the rest of the decade others are redoing it, re-redoing it, "2.0'ing" it, or something just ridiculous to market it.

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Re: Daft

What is the more important update?

One with security enhancements and fixes? Or one that supports new HTML features?

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@ WatAWorld

Back in the day it was understood that a major change was something that fundamentally altered the way the program worked. Minor changes were things that extended existing functionality without altering the major components. So for example when MS shifted the format for their Word Docs in such a way that older programs couldn't read any of it, it was a major change (eg 97 to 2003) but if it was an extension it was minor (doc 2.0 to doc 2.0c).

I didn't care for Google's Chrome numbering systems and liked it even less when Mozilla adopted it. MS of course was frequently a hash as some instances of major changes were obviously initiated because the cash coffers were running low and they didn't charge for "minor" updates (95B to 98 comes to mind, especially in light of changes from 95A to 95B).

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When is a version a new version?

The key issue will be if and when IE 11 becomes available for Windows 7. Just as they did with IE 10 initially only being for Windows 8, Microsoft has again not done itself any favours in tying the browser to a particular version of the operating system. Until Windows 8 has reasonable takeup the stock MS browser on it will remain largely irrelevant to Google. They can even consider moving to not support Internet Explorer at all, which is largely what the extended support of Chrome for XP is about.

Technically, IE 9, 10 and 11 are all pretty close. Microsoft committed itself to a faster, more standards-compliant release strategy with IE 9. I'm sure the browser developers would themselves have loved to been able to backport the various versions to Windows XP but management scotched any such attempts.

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Re: When is a version a new version?

Until Windows 8 has reasonable takeup the stock MS browser on it will remain largely irrelevant to Google.

OK, Windows 8 takeup is still way behind 7, and XP continues to get in the bloody way, but I'd argue that 8 is still relevant. It's market share is already above that of OSX, for example.

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To be fair, IE 9 and 10 have generally been way easier to support in the first place, and equally killing support for them is unlikely to mean that the pages will no longer render properly in IE9; they just won't be tested there.

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IE9 compliant enough?

"But in the article it states that when Google stop running on old browsers they only render you a message telling you to update (to chrome, probably)."

No it does not say this. a) It doesn't say it stops running on old browsers, it says it's no longer supported. Something like IE6 it fell apart pretty quickly. Standards compliant browsers, being unsupported has made little difference. b) It doesn't say they ONLY render a message telling you to update. The message to update just shows up small at the top for gmail for instance.

"It wasn’t until IE9 that Microsoft really made its browsers compatible with web standards,"

This may be the thing here... I think Google really just wants to support HTML5, and mainly wanted to quit making IE-specific hacks. If IE9 more or less supports HTML5 then they may just keep supporting it. If they don't, it may continue to work perfectly fine even if they do drop support.

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IE 10 is still the latest most up-to-date browser for Windows 7

IE 11 is still only out for Windows 8.

So IE 10 is the current latest version for most Windows users.

Google would be destroying most of its business if it dropped support for IE 9 so soon.

It would be a commercial blunder greater even then dropping iGoogle.

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I'm stuck in IE8 Development Hell at the moment

I can't convey via keyboard just how angry I am at the persistence of IE8, I know a lot of sites have started discontinuing support for it and I would love to do the same but 70% of our users come into the site on IE8 :( I reckon that it currently doubles our Front End development time to have to support it - would love to implement something like Kogan have done and create an IE8 tax! The sooner major services stop suppprting this - the sooner sysadmins might actually upgrade past XP so IE9 upwards can be installed or just forego IE altogether!

The other problem is that many people simply associate that little blue E with the internet in its entireity, I actually heard someone say the other day "I dont want Firefox I want to go in the internet" - ARGH </rant>

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And I'm stuck in IE8 Support Hell at the moment

Because the developers of critical web/apps insist on coding for it. From my PoV the sooner those lazy bastages in development get their collective asses in gear the better. As soon as they've got it fixed, my sys admins are ready to roll out the updates.

Maybe we should meet and discuss strategy against our mutual enemies?

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