Google has announced that, effective tomorrow (February 8, 2017), it will show a support stoppage notification for Gmail users who are on Google Chrome 53 and lower. In a blog post earlier this month, Google said that Gmail support would no longer be available for versions lower than Google Chrome 54.
In a notice to the public, Google said:
“Starting February 8, 2017, we will show a banner at the top of the Gmail interface for users who are still on Google Chrome Browser v53 and below to encourage upgrading to the latest version of Chrome, currently on version 55.
“Gmail users that are still on Windows XP and Windows Vista are the most likely to be affected, because v49 was the last released version which supported those operating systems.
“Chrome Browser v55 contains several important security updates.”
Google wants everyone to move to the most current version, but here’s where I’d like to deviate and talk about an “inadvertent event” that may arise from this warning – something that could immensely benefit Microsoft and the sluggish adoption rates that Windows 10 has been seeing.
Google Chrome is the most popular browser in the world, and Microsoft Windows is the most popular desktop operating system. How are those two things connected?
Every Chrome user on Windows XP or Windows Vista is necessarily on Google Chrome 49, with no options to upgrade because that’s the highest version that they support. That comprises about 10% of desktop market share, possibly numbering tens of millions of desktop users around the world.
If they do not upgrade their Chrome browser, their Gmail account will be facing a huge security risk because Google won’t be pushing any updates, bug fixes or security patches ever again.
If these users want their Gmail to be safe, they will have no choice but to upgrade to Google Chrome’s latest version. That’s a problem, as we said, because Windows Vista and Windows XP do not support anything higher than Google Chrome 49.
What does that mean?
That means, if users want the latest Google Chrome, they must upgrade to a higher Windows version. Now, the only option they have is to upgrade to Windows 10.
And that’s how Google Chrome is going to help Windows 10 adoption numbers this year. Google has ceased Gmail support for Chrome browsers that haven’t been upgraded to the latest version, and if XP and Vista users still want their Gmail to be secured with regular updates and patches, they’ll have to move to Windows 10.
That could see Windows 10 jump from its current 25.3% desktop OS market share to nearly 35% (if all XP and Vista users upgrade to Windows 10.) At the very least we should see higher than 5% increase in Windows 10’s market share in the desktop OS space, which will be the case if even half of all Windows XP and Vista users upgrade to Windows 10.
But there are several factors that may stop this from happening. For one, many XP users might just switch browsers and start using IE or Firefox just to keep their existing OS. Others might not even see the security risk as being important.
Nevertheless, there is sure to be a swathe of Gmail users on XP and Vista that will definitely use this opportunity to upgrade their devices, their OS or both, and that’s good news for Windows 10.
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