Google today announced it is extending Chrome support for Windows XP until April 2016. The company will also end Chrome support for Windows Vista, OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, OS X 10.7 Lion, and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion at the same time.
This means Google will provide regular Chrome updates and security patches for users on these operating systems for five more months. After that, the browser will still work, but it will be stuck on the last version released in April.
Google rightly explained that “such older platforms are missing critical security updates,” “have a greater potential to be infected by viruses and malware,” and “are no longer actively supported by Microsoft and Apple.” If you want to receive the latest Chrome versions and features, the company thus advises you to move to a newer operating system.
In October 2013, Google originally announced it would retire Chrome support for Windows XP in April 2015. The company then pushed the date back until December 2015. Now it’s being pushed back yet again.
Keep in mind that Microsoft retired Mainstream Support for Windows XP on April 14, 2009, and then pulled Extended Support for the operating system on April 8, 2014. Google’s extensions are a little ridiculous. The company was already going out of its way to support XP a year longer than Microsoft, but two years is really bending over backwards.
Windows XP users cannot upgrade to newer versions of Microsoft’s browser: IE8 is the latest version they can install. IE9 is only available for Windows Vista and Windows 7, while IE10 and IE11 are only for Windows 7 and Windows 8. Many XP users thus choose to use third-party browsers like Chrome.
Last month, XP still had over 11 percent market share, according to Net Applications. Vista had 1.74 percent market share, and the three old OS X versions had a combined 1.17 percent. That’s exactly why Google keeps updating Chrome for XP users: There are still hundreds of millions using the browser on the ancient OS.
But with all these extensions, Google isn’t helping — it’s encouraging users not to upgrade. Even with an up-to-date browser, using Windows XP is simply a poor security choice.