Google Search, the biggest product of Google’s parent Alphabet, has finally dropped support for Internet Explorer 11 (IE 11), Microsoft’s old browser.
Via 9to5Google, Google dropped support for IE 11 because “it’s about time” and the browser is only a small share of browsers used on Google Search.
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News of the end of official Google Search support for IE 11 came from Malte Uble, software engineer at Google, who explained that Google Search now offers IE 11 browsers a “fallback experience” that offers a version simplified from Google Search.
“Google Search has ended support for IE 11 in their main product (you can still search, but you’ll get a fallback experience). I’m mainly posting this so you can send it to your boss. We’ve done the math. It’s time,” he wrote on Twitter.
While Google’s original product dropping support for IE 11 is a notable event, this decision is not at all surprising.
Google removed IE 11 support from Workspace/G Suite apps in March and did the same for its Meet video conferencing platform in August.
Additionally, Microsoft dropped support for its legacy browser in web-based versions of Microsoft 365 Apps such as Teams and Outlook in August.
Microsoft still supports IE 11-dependent apps through its Chromium-based Edge browser, which it committed to in 2018 after dropping its browser engine in the open-source Edge for Google-only project. The switch to Chromium gave Microsoft a browser that supported Windows 7 through Windows 10, as well as macOS and Linux. Nowadays, the new Edge allows old IE MHTML files to open in “Internet Explorer mode”.
Google’s decision makes even more sense when looking at Microsoft’s schedule for IE on Windows 10. Microsoft will exclude IE from many versions of Windows 10 on June 15, 2022, with the exception of enterprise versions of Windows 10. operating as its Windows 10 long-term servicing channel. In parallel, Windows 11 will soon begin rolling out to newer hardware, while Windows 10 will reach end-of-life in October 2025.
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Google noted that Workspace apps will work when IE users switch to Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Chromium-based Microsoft Edge.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, Edge isn’t nearly a competitor to Google Chrome when it comes to market share, but that could change as Windows 11 rolls out more widely with Edge as the default browser.
According to StatCounter, Edge holds 8.75% of desktops globally, slightly behind the 9.67% held by Apple’s only macOS Safari browser. Google Chrome dominates with a 67% share worldwide. In the US, Chrome leads with a 61% share, followed by Safari at 17% and Edge at 12%, according to figures from StatCounter.