"For web applications to spring even farther ahead of traditional software, our teams need to make use of new capabilities available in modern browsers," Venkat Panchapakesan, Vice President of Engineering at Google, wrote.
"For example, desktop notifications for Gmail and drag-and-drop file upload in Google Docs require advanced browsers that support HTML5," he explained.
"For this reason, soon Google Apps will only support modern browsers. Beginning August 1st, we’ll support the current and prior major release of Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari on a rolling basis. Each time a new version is released, we’ll begin supporting the update and stop supporting the third-oldest version," he announced.
This is the most aggressive move yet from Google. While it hasn't been afraid to drop support for really obsolete browsers, even with IE6 it was a tough decision to make.
Now though, Google will not only stop supporting the browser versions it listed, it plans to do so every time an update is released. According to the plan, Google will drop support for Firefox 5 as soon as Firefox 7 lands, though this probably depends on how fast Mozilla gets people to upgrade their browser.
The new policy will be implemented starting August 1st and will affect the four browsers listed, the only ones supported anyway, and includes the core Google apps: Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs and Google Sites.
There are plenty of people and companies urging people to update their browsers. Browser makers want their users running the latest versions, for plenty of reasons, webmasters want to have their sites working for all of their visitors, which is made harder if they all run a different browser and version. Yet there are plenty of people running old versions, mostly because they don't know better.