Monday 26 January 2015

Compatibility Challenges coming for Google Chrome

January is a big month for both Microsoft and Google with Microsoft doing a big reveal on Windows 10 and the Google Create conference kicking off in sunny Mountain View. 

A highlight of the Google conference included an update to the Google Web Kit (Project) which is used by Google's web based products such as Google Wallet and AdWords.

Google's Ray Cromwell talked about the project's future direction and how future releases expected in the fourth quarter this year. Unusually one of the main topics was a break in backward compatibility for the Google Web kit. This is an unusual move for this Google team, as backward application compatibility was rigorously maintained through all previous versions since the project's inception back in 2006.

In his presentation on the planned updates to Google Web Kit, Chris Cromwell said;
“Now, because IE6, IE7, and IE8 are dead and there’s certain legacy things that we don’t want to support anymore because we need to target newer browsers and this new world of mobile, we want to deprecate these things,”
IE6, IE7 and IE8 are dead? Really?

I took the liberty of having a quick skim on some browser usage compilation sites and found that in fact IE8 is not dead. Especially if you are using a desktop.
Browser Usage Pie Chart 2014

You can find these results here. In fact I have always been suspicious of these market share reports, in that they under-report IE browser usage.

Many organizations that are likely to user a browser like IE8 (or even worse IE6) would lie behind a firewall that in some cases will remove usage tracker information from a particular user. 

Maybe the imminent death of IE8 is just wishful thinking on the part of the Google team. 

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