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.