It's not you, it's IE: Google gives users a way of breaking up with legacy browsers gently

It's not you, it's IE: Google gives users a way of breaking up with legacy browsers gently

Summary: Google has released new extensions for businesses tied to older versions of IE to help them migrate to its own Chrome browser.


With the end of support for Internet Explorer 6 looming, Google has introduced new tools for business users to switch between the latest version of Chrome and legacy browsers as far back as IE6 when using custom web applications.

The extensions, released on Wednesday, are named Internet Explorer Legacy Browser Support (LBS) and Chrome Legacy Browser Support, and offer a fix for businesses stuck on old browsers as well as those who use new browsers that don't support old internal-facing web applications.

Chrome LBS, which requires Chrome 26 or higher, allows administrators to specify which URLs, used for custom web applications, should launch an older version of Chrome. Google only introduced Chrome for business in 2010, so it's likely to be a smaller legacy problem than for enterprises running web applications in IE6 on Windows XP, which is heading towards end of support on 8 April 2014.

For those users, there's IE LBS. The feature will open older versions of Internet Explorer when needed for legacy web apps, and Chrome for newer ones — providing a more direct path to Chrome for enterprise users that depend on IE for legacy software. IE LBS works only with Chrome that has LBS activated, and supports IE6 through to IE10.

"When you install this add-on with Internet Explorer (IE), Chrome and IE will switch to the best browser, depending on which website or app is being accessed," Google notes on the support page.

"IT managers simply define which sites should launch from Chrome into an alternate browser, and then set this Chrome policy for all employees. And while Chrome Frame helps developers build apps for older browsers, Legacy Browser Support lets IT admins of organizations embrace the modern web," said Cyrus Mistry, Chrome for business senior product manager.

While Microsoft has long been urging businesses to upgrade to Windows 7 due to the support cut-off deadline for XP, the OS does not support IE6 and hence the legacy web applications that run on it. Companies like Browsium have popped up to help that migration along by enabling IE6-dependent apps to run later IE versions that are supported by Windows 7. 

Google also released new cloud-based management tools for Google Apps for Business admins to set desktop policies via Chrome on user devices on Wednesday.

"Now, whether employees are working from the company's desktop or their personal laptop, they will be able to access default applications, custom themes, or a curated app web store when they sign-in to Chrome with their work account. With cloud-based management, IT administrators can customize more than 100 Chrome policies and preferences for their employees from the Google Admin panel," said Mistry. 

Topics: Browser, Microsoft, Windows

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • Only a Moron would use IE

    The most unreliable, insecure browser ever created.
    • And a Moron said it.

    • Says you.

      Another know it all. Just to keep the facts striaght, Ive used IE forever and prefere it by far above all others and have all others installed because I check them out regularly hoping one day one of them may in fact create something close to as good and reliable and as pleasent to use as IE.

      Never happens.

      Dosnt mean Ill give up, just means the also rans just have to keep trying to catch up to IE thats all.
  • Are there really that many legacy apps that are only designe for IE6?

    I'm sorry, but it's been over 5 years since *IE7* was released (which was also XP-compliant). Even university IT departments have long upgraded their web apps to be compliant with IE7, if not IE8 (last versions usable under Windows XP, & both of which are available under Windows 7).

    I honestly can't see much real benefit here... except for Google to try to use it as a marketing campaign to scare the non-tech-savvy business owners into forcing their IT staff to perform a meaningless switchover...
    • You'd be surprised

      December last year I had to write an PHP system for IE6. It was for an insurance company, and those guys don't fart without first calling a meeting on when they can meet, who will be at the meeting, and how long the meeting will take.
  • It's not you, it's IE: Google gives users a way of breaking up with legacy

    Or you just upgrade your version if IE and know that the site still works. It beats using Google chrome and its spyware where it says anything you type in the browser becomes their property.
    • Spyware?

      There's no spyware in Chrome. It basically the same thing as Chromium. What sort of spyware do you think is in Chrome?

      And where does it say that "anything you type in the browser becomes their property"?

      IE is the one that spies on Google search results and adds them to Bing.
      • Read their TOS

        It stated it in the TOS.
        • Meh

          Nice slandering and legally punishable propaganda...

          Google Chrome's TOS is plainly saying the exact opposite (emphases is mine)...

          "8.4 Google acknowledges and agrees that it obtains NO right, title or interest from you (or your licensors) under these Terms in or to any Content that you submit, post, transmit or display on, or through, the Services, including any intellectual property rights which subsist in that Content (whether those rights happen to be registered or not, and wherever in the world those rights may exist). UNLESS you have agreed otherwise in writing with Google, you agree that you are responsible for protecting and enforcing those rights and that Google has no obligation to do so on your behalf."

          My guess is that you are challenged cognitively, or just another wacko/paid propagandist trying to spread FUD...
      • Actually

        Chrome does phone home a lot.

        It is Chromium + Google's Services. It's why, for example, Chrome auto-updates and Chromium does not. It's why you'll have a different HTML5test score. They are similar, but they're not the same.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • Chrome is not the same as Chromium

        chromium is completely open source and does not contain a few features that are present in Chrome. One of the features missing in Chromium is the pdf plugin, another one is the phone home stuff Google puts into Chrome, one primairy feature is anything you type into the adress bar is sent to Google, before you hit enter.
        • Instant search

          Anything you type into the address bar is sent to google only if you have the "Instant Search" aka prediction functionality enabled. You can uncheck it in the search settings.
          • Which IS

            The default setting, and should be stored locally instead of sent to Google, but of course considering Google's main revenue model I understand why this is good for Google.
  • Google

    Google want your browser so they can record everything you are interested in. IE actually tries to prevent you from being track. IE 9 and 10 are much better than the earlier versions and the extension are much more secure, and not kept in a data bank at Google's headquarters. I use Firefox, but I would NEVER recommend Google.
  • IE

    IE 9 and 10 are nice. They still are far slower than Chromium. Even Firefox, noticeably laggier than Chrome, still beats IE10 by a slim margin.

    Microsoft has been greatly improving Internet Explorer, but it's still not quite good enough to steal the show. Maybe IE11 will be.
    • Hardly...

      IE has the best hardware acceleration hands down and a blazing fast javascript engine. Plus IE10 is very standards-compliant. I'd say its weakness for me is in the simplicity of the tabbed interface, it isn't as preferable as chrome in my opinion, but IE10 is actually the fastest.
    • Re:

      Chrome would be even more faster if it stops sending so much personal information to Google.
  • It helps

    that every Google service says "switch to Chrome" when you go to it with IE.

    I'm guessing it now does the same with this add-on.
    Michael Alan Goff
  • Chrome is overrated.

    I use Google Chrome a lot and it crashed 3 out of 4 times, I have since moved to Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 8, and it's many times better. Microsoft itself should integrate more legacy support in I.E. 10.
    Văn Minh Nguyễn
  • Older IE dependecies still abound

    A few weeks ago someone I know had to install a current version application into an XP VM running on Win7 because the application needed IE, but would not work with any version higher than IE8. And to this day, there are *still* financial sites that requires IE. And for all the supposed security improvements in IE, it still appears much more vulnerable to sophisticated web infections than its competitors -- I personally recently saw a pretty well updated Win7 PC nearly completely hosed with just a brush with the ZeroAccess (Sirefef) botnet. (Tip: only ESET's free "ESETSirefefEVCleaner" tool was able to remove the last remaining traces of it.)