Gmail Drops Support for Chrome 53 and Lower, Chrome for iOS Open Sourced

Starting February 8, 2017, Gmail will no longer supporting Chrome browser version 53 and below. Chrome for iOS and Google Earth Enterprise (GEE) released under open-source.

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Starting February 8, 2017, Gmail will no more support Chrome Browser version 53 and below, and a banner at the top of the Gmail interface will show notification to those who are still on Chrome 53 or below encouraging them to upgrade to latest release of Chrome.

Google notes, that Gmail users still on Windows XP and Windows Vista are the most likely to be affected, because Chrome 49 was the last released version supported those operating systems.

Though, Gmail will continue to function through the end of the year on Chrome 53 and below. However, using these older versions will make Gmail more vulnerable to security risks, because the support to these versions is ended.

Additionally, users on these versions of Chrome will not have access to new features and bugfixes—and will be redirected to the basic HTML version of Gmail as early as Dec 2017.

If you manage Chrome Browser for your users, we strongly encourage you to update users to the latest version of Chrome. Depending on what operating system your users are on, you may need to migrate them to a supported system to get the latest version and features.

Also, after years of careful refactoring separately of the code for Chrome for iOS from the rest of the Chromium project, "all of this code is rejoining Chromium and being moved into the open-source repository."

With this release, developers can now compile the iOS version of Chromium like they can for other versions of Chromium.

"Due to constraints of the iOS platform, all browsers must be built on top of the WebKit rendering engine. For Chromium, this means supporting both WebKit as well as Blink, Chrome's rendering engine for other platforms. That created some extra complexities which we wanted to avoid placing in the Chromium code base," Google stated.

Google Earth Enterprise (GEE) Open-Sourced

Another product that is open-sourced is Google Earth Enterprise (GEE), the enterprise version that allows developers to build and host their own private maps and 3D globes.

With this release, "GEE Fusion, GEE Server, and GEE Portable Server source code (all 470,000+ lines!) will be published on GitHub under the Apache2 license in March," said Google.

GEE was launched in 2006, to provide customers with ability to build and host private, on-premise versions of Google Earth and Maps. And, in March of 2015, deprecation of the product and the end of all sales was announced.

But, to provide ample time for transition, a two year maintenance period ending on March 22, 2017 was provided. During this maintenance period, Google regularly shipped updates with technical support to all licensed customers.