bye bye IE6

So long, farewell, auf weidersehn, goodbye…as the Von Trapp family might have put it. IE6 is on its last legs. For evidence look to Google — as we do for more things in life. Google is finally hailing a cab for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6.0 Web browser.

And, when Google take a decision like this, the virtual world tends to sit up and take notice. Not before time say a gaggle of site designers — many of these have considered IE6 obsolete for some time. Google isn’t leading the charge. Its decision is only the latest move in a growing campaign to drop support for IE6.

If you’re still a user — and 1 in 5 are — you are being urged to find a newer alternative. Why is IE6 such a baddie all of a sudden? Well this year, Google blamed it for the Chinese hackings it suffered in January, while the French and German governments have both warned their citizens to stop using the browser altogether. Here in the UK, NHS udders have been told to switch to version 7 of Microsoft’s browser.

So is this the end for IE6. Well no, not quite. There are always users who are reluctant to change. Large businesses often put off making company-wide upgrades.

Despite the fact that Microsoft has released two never versions of Explorer since IE6 (which at 9 years old is a real dinosaur in web terms), it is estimated that around 20 per cent of users still rely on IE6.

Does any of this matter. Well the web development community is mightily fed up with IE6 claiming that, since it can’t support modern standards, it is holding back the web! There is even and online campaign — ie6nomore — which has the support of a host of leading web firms.

Now if you’re looking for an alternative to IE6 you won’t be short of choice. Back to Google. They recommend any of the following: IE7+, Firefox 3+, Chrome 4+ or Safari 3+. But there are plenty of other browsers out there for the curious.