Google to stop supporting Internet Explorer 8

Still using Windows XP? How about Internet Explorer 8?

If you're a fan of Google's services, it might be time to upgrade to a new iteration of the browser — or a different browser entirely. According to Google, the company is officially discontinuing support for Internet Explorer 8 across all of its web services as of 15 November this year.

"As we announced last year, we support the latest version of Google Chrome (which automatically updates whenever it detects that a new version of the browser is available) as well as the current and prior major release of Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari on a rolling basis," wrote a Google representative in a blog post. "Each time a new version of one of these browsers is released, we begin supporting the update and stop supporting the third-oldest version."

While Google hasn't made note of any compatibility issues that could happen following the transition, users still accessing Google apps with IE8 will start to see messages indicating that they should upgrade their browser.

The catch? Internet Explorer 8 is the most up-to-date version of Internet Explorer that can run on Windows XP, an operating system that's still a bit of a holdout within some corporate environments. In fact, according to the latest global numbers from StatCounter, Internet Explorer 8 still ate up a market share of 13.7 per cent as of August, almost double the market share of Internet Explorer 7 when Google killed off support for that browser in July of last year.

Among all versions of all modern browsers, Internet Explorer 8 currently ranks as the second-most-used browser worldwide, with only Internet Explorer 9 beating it out with an August market share of 17.5 per cent.

As for Windows XP itself, the operating system currently enjoys a total market share of around 28.8 per cent, making it the second-most used operating system behind Windows 7 at 51.4 per cent.

Microsoft, however, doesn't plan to put Windows XP on end-of-life status until 2014.

"After April 8, 2014," describes Microsoft, "there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates."