Google starts the “anti-IE6 crusade”. Let’s hope it works

Google has taken the torch in the anti-IE6 crusade, as reported on Slashdot.

“Google is now urging Gmail users to drop Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) in favor of Firefox or Chrome. Google recently removed Firefox from the Google Pack bundle, replaced it with Chrome, then added a direct download link for Chrome on Google and YouTube. Google’s decision to list IE6 as an unsupported Gmail browser does not affect just consumers: Tens of thousands of small- and mid-sized businesses that run Google Apps hosted services may dump IE6 as well. What’s especially interesting is the fact that Mozilla is picking up two out of three browser users that Microsoft surrenders.”

All I can say is, “It’s about time!” Internet Explorer 6  was first released on August 27, 2001 – over seven years ago. Upgrades are free (in the forms of IE7+, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc.) and can easily give a much richer Internet experience.

Despite that, many users have not upgraded beyond IE6. According to W3Schools, IE6 use is down to 20%., but that’s a tech-heavy site. W3Counter reports the IE6 market share at 28%.

Perhaps it’s too many people running old computers, or too many people lacking the savvy to upgrade. Either way, Google is taking a good step forward in solving a nagging problem for all web developers.

Over the past two years, use of 800×600 has dropped to about 5%, which makes it much more practical to develop web sites optimized for at least 1024-pixel wide resolutions. That is a big step forward. Let’s hope the same can be said for IE6 before it’s tenth birthday.

Update @ 11:43AM: Seems Ajaxian is talking up the cause as well. Despite this, Dion’s take matches mine: “Still far too high a percentage and enough to make you grown [sic]”. I think he meant “groan”, but I digress.

4 thoughts on “Google starts the “anti-IE6 crusade”. Let’s hope it works”

  • About 11% of CSFBL users use IE6. Interestingly, IE and FF (all versions of both) make up 93% of our users, split almost evenly (IE has a slight edge). I guess we’re ahead of the curve.

    I don’t plan on doing extensive testing for IE6 with CSBB. It’ll be IE7+, FF2+, Safari 3+, etc.. At some point, a mobile/”light” UI version will be available with very simple interfaces — old browser users will be able to use that.

    That’s an interesting IE6 approach: Force those users to use a mobile-device optimized interface. That should accelerate the upgrade curve a bit!

  • Many, many government computers, especially defense-related are stuck with IE6.
    IT admins are dragging their feet in upgrading to something else — they feel it’s a security issue
    but what they don’t quite get, at this point, IE6 is one of the most unsecure browsers around.
    So that’s definitely contributing to that ridiculous IE6 market share.

    I noticed mint.com just dropped support for IE6 — way to go mint!!

  • “IT admins are dragging their feet in upgrading to something else — they feel it’s a security issue”

    Those IT admins should be fired.

    Oh, I forgot, you said it was a government job. You can’t fire them. 😮

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