Google Docs, Meet, Gmail and more will soon abandon Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer
(Image credit: Microsoft)

In the summer, Microsoft revealed it would kill off defunct web browser Internet Explorer (IE), with plans for a phased termination brought to a close by mid-2021.

In light of the announcement, Google has now confirmed that its Workspace product suite - which includes the likes of Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Drive etc. - will also abandon the much denigrated browser.

As set out in a Google blog post, Workspace users will be required to upgrade to a supported browser before March 15 2021, in order to “avoid any possible disruptions in service such as degraded performance or security vulnerabilities”.

Over the next few weeks, Google will begin to display banners for Google Workspace customers still using IE 11, reminding them of the need to switch. And admins are advised to set the upgrade process in motion immediately.

Internet Explorer end-of-life

Internet Explorer, which first hit the scene in 1995, has suffered an almighty fall from grace over the past decade. Ridiculed for speed issues and its clunky user interface, the browser was dropped in favor of newer, more feature-rich offerings.

In a bid to claw back lost users, Microsoft has put all its energy behind its new flagship service, Edge. The arrival of the new Chromium-based browser earlier this year was the final nail in the Internet Explorer coffin.

“Customers have been using IE 11 since 2013 when the online environment was much less sophisticated than the landscape today,” explained the firm.

“Since then, open web standards and newer browsers - like the new Microsoft Edge - have enabled better, more innovative online experiences.”

As part of the sunsetting process, Microsoft 365 applications will withdraw support for Internet Explorer over the coming months - and the same is now true of Google’s product suite too.

To avoid complications that might arise as a result of the end of IE support, Google has advised users to switch to one of a handful of supported web browsers.

Unsurprisingly, the company’s own Chrome browser sits at the top of the recommended list. Rival offerings Firefox, Safari and Edge, meanwhile, are said to “work well with Workspace”, but do not support offline access to Google products.

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.