Some Gmail users may soon find themselves at a higher risk for security problems and without access to updates and new features. Google recently announced via a blog post that Gmail will no longer support Chrome Browser version 53 and earlier.
Beginning on February 8, 2017, a banner will appear at the top of the page in Gmail for users who access it from Chrome version 53 or earlier encouraging them to upgrade their browser, the post said. At the time of this writing, Chrome is on version 55, which contains several key security features, the post noted.
It's important to note that Gmail is only ending support for these Chrome versions. So, users on Chrome 53 will still be able to access Gmail, and it will function properly, but it will be more vulnerable to security risks and users will not have access to updates or bug fixes, the post said.
Gmail will function properly on these Chrome versions until the end of the year. However, the post noted, some users who don't update their browser may be "redirected to the basic HTML version of Gmail as early as Dec. 2017."
Users on the Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems are those who are most likely to be affected by the news, as Chrome version 49 was the last version that included support for those particular Windows systems. The post encouraged users who may be using these operating systems to switch to "more secure and supported systems."
In the enterprise, administrators are encouraged to update users to the latest version of Chrome. However, if you rely on legacy apps or operating systems that require an older version of Chrome, that might not be an immediate possibility.
Google isn't known for announcing discontinued support for Chrome versions, the post said, as the company's policy is to only support the current version of Chrome. The post said that Google intentionally called this out to minimize the impact on specific Windows XP and Windows Vista users.
Google has also taken other steps to secure Gmail recently, including new warnings against potential phishing campaigns and more.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- Gmail will no longer support Chrome versions 53 and earlier, meaning users of those versions will be at a higher risk for security threats.
- At the time of this article, the current Chrome version of 55 is the only supported version, which is Google's standard policy.
- Windows XP and Windows Vista are the most likely to be affected, as Chrome 49 was the last version to support it.
- Google makes Gmail safer with new security warnings to fight phishing (TechRepublic)
- Google launches feature for non-Gmail accounts to use Gmail's best tools on Android (ZDNet)
- How to manage multiple accounts in Google Gmail (TechRepublic)
- Gmail for iOS gets a facelift and faster search (ZDNet)
- Internet and Email usage policy (Tech Pro Research)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.