Google Search, Google parent Alphabet’s biggest product, has finally dropped support for Internet Explorer 11 (IE 11), Microsoft’s legacy browser.
Via 9to5Google, Google dropped support for IE 11 because ‘it is time’ and the browser only makes up a small share of browsers used on Google Search.
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News of Google Search ending official support for IE 11 came from Malte Uble, a software engineer at Google, who explained Google Search now delivers IE 11 browsers a “fall back experience” that offers a pared back version of Google Search.
“Google Search ended support for IE 11 in its main product (you can still search but will get a fallback experience). I’m mostly posting this so you can send it to your boss. We did the Math. It is time,” he wrote on Twitter.
While Google’s original product dropping support for IE 11 is a notable event, the move isn’t surprising at all.
Google cut support for IE 11 from Workspace/G Suite apps in March and did the same for for its video-meeting platform Meet in August.
Moreover, Microsoft dropped support for its own legacy browser in the web versions of Microsoft 365 apps like Teams and Outlook in August.
Microsoft still supports IE 11-dependent apps through its Chromium-based browser Edge, which it committed to in 2018 after ditching its browser engine in the Windows-only Edge for Google’s open-source project. The switch to Chromium gave Microsoft a browser with support spanning Windows 7 to Windows 10, as well as macOS and Linux. Nowadays, the new Edge allows legacy IE MHTML files opening in ‘Internet Explorer mode’.
Google’s decision makes even more sense when looking at Microsoft’s timeline for IE on Windows 10. Microsoft will exclude IE from many versions of Windows 10 on June 15, 2022, except for enterprise versions of the OS like its Windows 10 Long Term Servicing Channel. On the side, Windows 11 will start to roll out soon on newer hardware, while Windows 10 reaches end of life in October 2025.
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Google has 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 close to being a contender to Google Chrome when it comes to market share, but that could change as Windows 11 rolls out more broadly with Edge shipping as the default browser.
According to StatCounter, Edge has an 8.75% share of desktops worldwide, slightly behind the 9.67% held by Apple’s macOS-only Safari browser. Google Chrome dominates with a share of 67% worldwide. In the US, Chrome leads with a 61% share, followed by Safari at 17% and Edge at 12%, by StatCounter figures.