Google to drop support for Firefox 3.5, IE7 and Safari 3

Google caused quite a ruckus last year when they announced that they were dropping support for Internet Explorer 6. Even Microsoft has supported the move away from IE6, due to the various issues that brings with it - security being a primary concern.

At over 10 years old, many people would agree that IE6 was long in the tooth and well overdue to being scrapped. However this does bring up the question - if 10 years is too long to support a browser, even a browser that at one point claimed nearly 90% of the browser market, then how long should a browser be supported?

Google appears to have come up with the answer as they have just announced future plans to drop support for Firefox 3.5, Internet Explorer 7 and Safari 3 from August 1st. From then on, Google only plans to support the current and previous major release of each browser.

For web applications to spring even farther ahead of traditional software, our teams need to make use of new capabilities available in modern browsers. For example, desktop notifications for Gmail and drag-and-drop file upload in Google Docs require advanced browsers that support HTML5. Older browsers just don't have the chops to provide you with the same high-quality experience.

For this reason, soon Google Apps will only support modern browsers. Beginning August 1st, we'll support the current and prior major release of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari on a rolling basis. Each time a new version is released, we'll begin supporting the update and stop supporting the third-oldest version.

Mozilla has plans to release Firefox 5 in a few weeks time, meaning that by the time that August 1st deadline hits, support for Firefox 3.6 could be dropped as well.

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45 Comments

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Well,Seem it's time to change browsers...Which browser do you gus suggest? Avant browser, opera,firefox or IE9?

My employer is still converting to IE7. Of course, we are at the mercy of our healthcare vendors, who are often slow to update legacy apps.

Great! it's annoying how many people refuse to update even when sometimes it leaves them at risk. Don't like it? switch to another browser or another search engine.

O5M3L said,
Firefox 5 in a few weeks? Damn that was fast.

Yea there was an article a few weeks back about how Mozilla was going to speed up the release cycles for Firefox. Can't comment on v5, but v6 (Aurora) is so far very good.. been running like a champ for me.

O5M3L said,
Firefox 5 in a few weeks? Damn that was fast.

Yeah, IIRC there'll be a new version of firefox every 6 weeks from 5 onwards

Sounds good to me to only support the current + prior version of the major browsers.

Remember that lack of support doesn't equal non-functional websites too. It's just that they don't test their services on these browsers.

In the end, we'll probably notice little difference. Since they support ALL major browsers, they will likely also not use browser-exclusive features. This will further lessen the difference, and make them adopt new features slower. Since they're working by the weakest link here, of all browsers and browser versions they support.

Xerax said,
Good. Drop old browsers, make users upgrade and give web developers a hand with standards.

i agree. if people are forced to upgrade then we can start seeing people take more advantage of modern features. (i think everyone should be running the newest version of each browser in general lacking some possible issues with extensions)

IE6 should have been dumped ages ago as it's beyond old at this point. there is basically no reason people should still be using IE6.

ThaCrip said,

i agree. if people are forced to upgrade then we can start seeing people take more advantage of modern features. (i think everyone should be running the newest version of each browser in general lacking some possible issues with extensions)

IE6 should have been dumped ages ago as it's beyond old at this point. there is basically no reason people should still be using IE6.


IE6 works fine in most coperate environments, why fix it if it aint broke?
but they arent problems for most public websites anyways as they're also often blocked out and only used on intra-nets.

About time really. Companies with influence need to step up and migrate people to newer versions of their browsers, which from then on should auto-update.

Tim Schiesser said,
About time really. Companies with influence need to step up and migrate people to newer versions of their browsers, which from then on should auto-update.

Yes, pull out support for old version.

HELL NO auto update. The update should be up to me, the user. One of the reasons why I will never use Chrome.

Tim Schiesser said,
About time really. Companies with influence need to step up and migrate people to newer versions of their browsers, which from then on should auto-update.

+1

Nimdock said,

Yes, pull out support for old version.

HELL NO auto update. The update should be up to me, the user. One of the reasons why I will never use Chrome.

And we wonder why IE6 lasted so long...

Tekkerson said,

And we wonder why IE6 lasted so long...

ye lets force autoupdate, maybe thats why Chrome is barely used in coperate environments besides some personal installs.

Neobond said,
I doubt Firefox 3.6 support will be pulled so quickly after Firefox 4

it will be good if they drop it, because it doesnt support half the standards version 4 does

allwynd said,

it will be good if they drop it, because it doesnt support half the standards version 4 does


It would be stupid to drop it because there are sites that don't support Firefox 4 (such as Blackboard, the standard online teaching package).

allwynd said,

it will be good if they drop it, because it doesnt support half the standards version 4 does

Firefox 4.01 is nowhere near as stable as 3.6.17 and has poor text quality for alot of users by default. There's no reason for them to remove support for 3.6 in 2011. Their new numbering system is like chrome's which results in major new version every 2 months or so and only a small number of minor versions and stopping supporting them very quickly.

There won't be a firefox 4.02 which sucks, i'd rather have a fully stable v4. Only firefox 6 will have text you can read which is pretty crazy.

torrentthief said,

Firefox 4.01 is nowhere near as stable as 3.6.17 and has poor text quality for alot of users by default. There's no reason for them to remove support for 3.6 in 2011. Their new numbering system is like chrome's which results in major new version every 2 months or so and only a small number of minor versions and stopping supporting them very quickly.

There won't be a firefox 4.02 which sucks, i'd rather have a fully stable v4. Only firefox 6 will have text you can read which is pretty crazy.

we are not talking about stability, because the only problems i have with firefox 5.0 is some memory leaks, but my computer is brand new... we are talking about supporting standards, performance, page load speed, etc. who cares if you can see text fine (i dont see anything different in the new versions, its the same) if your browser isnt using your GPU to load stuff

allwynd said,

... who cares if you can see text fine (i dont see anything different in the new versions, its the same) if your browser isnt using your GPU to load stuff

Only those with vision impairments...but hey, all corporations and schools use high end gear with a GPU that handles offloading fine right? None of them have on-board video cards that are lucky to render any graphics with the speed of a Win98 dial up connection right?

IMO there is absolutely no reason NOT to upgrade to the most recent versions of any of those browsers (or to IE8 in the case of IE, if one wants to take the less disruptive approach).

Julius Caro said,
IMO there is absolutely no reason NOT to upgrade to the most recent versions of any of those browsers (or to IE8 in the case of IE, if one wants to take the less disruptive approach).

Have you seen firefox 4 and how much of a mess it is compared to firefox 3.6? A great idea would be to stick to firefox 3.6, use the user-agent-switcher and fool sites and then go direct to firefox 5.0 when it's out assuming they haven't ****ed it up even more.

n_K said,

Have you seen firefox 4 and how much of a mess it is compared to firefox 3.6? A great idea would be to stick to firefox 3.6, use the user-agent-switcher and fool sites and then go direct to firefox 5.0 when it's out assuming they haven't ****ed it up even more.

or switch to Chrome

Julius Caro said,
IMO there is absolutely no reason NOT to upgrade to the most recent versions of any of those browsers (or to IE8 in the case of IE, if one wants to take the less disruptive approach).

there is for me
i really dislike the new theme and style and various other changes in FF4
so im still on FF 3.6
i dont like change for the sake of change

n_K said,

Have you seen firefox 4 and how much of a mess it is compared to firefox 3.6? A great idea would be to stick to firefox 3.6, use the user-agent-switcher and fool sites and then go direct to firefox 5.0 when it's out assuming they haven't ****ed it up even more.
Well tabs on top worked for chrome so why not follow suit? Also future versions of FF wont revert back, if u dont like tabs on top, go to view then untick tabs on top.

Sem XL said,

there is for me
i really dislike the new theme and style and various other changes in FF4
so im still on FF 3.6
i dont like change for the sake of change

at one point you will be forced to update as well, same for Skype 3.x users.. as they are really getting on my nerves with how proud they are using some outdated version

n_K said,

Have you seen firefox 4 and how much of a mess it is compared to firefox 3.6? A great idea would be to stick to firefox 3.6, use the user-agent-switcher and fool sites and then go direct to firefox 5.0 when it's out assuming they haven't ****ed it up even more.

You don't want to use a version of the browser that is not supported at best Google Apps wouldn't work, at worst it would break Google Apps on Firefox.

Sem XL said,

i dont like change for the sake of change

cars changed from 90's to 2011, not for the sake of it.
windows has changed from 90's to 2011, not for the sake of it.

If you don't like changes, just don't, but don't add BS to support it, tastes don't need arguments.

edit: http://imgf.tw/703217431.png

Sem XL said,

there is for me
i really dislike the new theme and style and various other changes in FF4
so im still on FF 3.6
i dont like change for the sake of change


Then use a different theme. As a web developer, I don't like how people stay on older versions for aesthetic reasons. Please upgrade; I'm begging you!

Meph said,

Then use a different theme. As a web developer, I don't like how people stay on older versions for aesthetic reasons. Please upgrade; I'm begging you!

Well, I guess 3.6 works too. But I havent had any problems with FF 4.0. The betas were an all-over-the-place, yet they managed to release a very decent version.
And if you dont like the theme, you can change it.

Sem XL said,
there is for me
i really dislike the new theme and style and various other changes in FF4
so im still on FF 3.6
i dont like change for the sake of change

Using Firefox but not using Firefox. My mind... blown!

Julius Caro said,
IMO there is absolutely no reason NOT to upgrade to the most recent versions of any of those browsers (or to IE8 in the case of IE, if one wants to take the less disruptive approach).

ROAR CHANGE BAD *kicks over lego buildings*

/great attitude to have in the tech world, bro

Julius Caro said,
IMO there is absolutely no reason NOT to upgrade to the most recent versions of any of those browsers (or to IE8 in the case of IE, if one wants to take the less disruptive approach).

Did you forget education and enterprise? Those are 2 HUGE reasons. And there are many reasons within those such as business-critical software not supporting the latest software, let alone the latest OS. My company is still running Windows XP on all desktops (including newly purchased ones). We just got IE8 pushed this year, and the validation process for that was almost 2 years due to the software we use being primarily web-based Oracle applications.

De.Bug said,

You don't want to use a version of the browser that is not supported at best Google Apps wouldn't work, at worst it would break Google Apps on Firefox.

What's changed from firefox 3.6 to firefox 4.0 in terms of HTML and CSS compatibility? Nothing. CSS 3 is still the major version, HTML5 still isn't finalised, therefore chances are nothing would break.

Also I wasn't talking about tab positions, I was talking about the MASSIVE security issue of 'restore previous session'. Might be time to make a fork of firefox 3.6 and call it 'Foxy Before Moxy ****ed Foxy Up 4.0!'

DaRkMaDnEsS said,
and about Google Chrome they are supporting it to the end !!!!! or what
Chrome auto updates, its difficult to officially download say version 1 of chrome as the installer finds the latest version on install.

DaRkMaDnEsS said,
and about Google Chrome they are supporting it to the end !!!!! or what
Beginning August 1st, we'll support the current and prior major release of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari on a rolling basis.