Gmail is dumping Windows XP and Vista, now what?
Life isn’t getting any easier for holdouts on Windows XP and Vista. Google recently announced that Gmail would stop supporting Chrome version 53 and lower by the end of 2017. The move specifically impacts XP and Vista since Google capped support for both of those systems at Chrome v49.
So what does this all mean for XP and Vista users? Is Gmail going to stop working in Chrome? Not exactly, but it could suck a whole lot more.
The first thing that will happen, Google says, is that starting on Wednesday, February 8, a banner will appear at the top of Gmail encouraging users to upgrade their version of Chrome. That’s obviously not going to happen if you can’t upgrade because you’re limited to Chrome 49.
Then, by the end of 2017, it appears that Google could possibly redirect at least some users to the basic HTML version of Gmail instead of the “web app” version you see now, although it’s not a certainty yet.
If the Gmail interface doesn’t change then there’s really nothing to worry about, really. Gmail will continue to work as always, but if Google makes a change that breaks Gmail in Chrome 49 that’s too bad for you.
Where the hard choices come in is if Google does switch XP and Vista users to the HTML version of Gmail. That would mean moving back to the original Gmail interface, which is very basic. You’d also lose a number of useful features including chat, the spell checker, the ability to add or import contacts, rich formatting, customized “from” addresses, and keyboard shortcuts.
That’s a pretty tall list of shortcomings, but if all you’re looking for is the ability to write text, add attachments, and press Send, then the HTML version will meet your needs.