For the second time, Google has pushed back on pulling the plug on Chrome for Microsoft's older operating systems. This time, however, Google seems intent on killing off Chrome support for Windows XP and Windows Vista.
Google Director of Engineering Marc Pawliger says in a blog post that Windows XP and Windows Vista users will stop receiving updates to Chrome beginning April 2016. That means users only have five months to go before they find another web browser with support for these aging OSes or upgrade their software to continue using a more secure Chrome.
In 2013, Google announced it was going to cut Chrome support for Windows XP in April 2015. The announcement took a long time coming, since Microsoft ended mainstream support for Windows XP in 2009. However, when April 2015 came around, the web giant had a change of heart and announced an extension until the end of this year. With just a month and a half to go before year-end, Google once again delays ending support to another four months.
When it does, however, users will have to continue using Chrome on Windows XP and Windows Vista with higher risk of getting infected by cybersecurity threats and malware. Either that or they upgrade to newer operating systems.
"We strongly encouraged users on older, unsupported platforms such as Windows XP to update to a supported, secure operating system," says Pawliger. "Such older platforms are missing critical security updates and have greater potential to be infected by viruses and malware."
The end of Chrome support will also apply to Apple's OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. However, since Apple's upgrade cycle runs typically faster than Windows, more Windows users will be affected by Google's announcement.
Windows XP users can only use Internet Explorer 8, while Windows Vista still has support for Internet Explorer 9. Newer versions, however, are only available for Windows 7 and Windows 8, while Microsoft has the new Edge browser for Windows 10. Meanwhile, Google still allows the latest versions of Chrome to run on the 14-year-old Windows XP, making it the browser of choice for most people who are stuck in the Internet of 2000.
According to Net Applications, 11.68 percent of PC users still use Windows XP, while Windows Vista's market share has dwindled to 1.74 percent. However, with more than three billion people using the Internet every day, the small market shares still account for more than 350 million people using Chrome on old OSes.
Elliott Brown | Flickr