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TG Daily reports that Google's Gmail is now recommending that IE6 users switch to Chrome or Firefox 3. IE6 users logging into Gmail see a link that says "Get faster Gmail" that takes them to a "Get faster Google Mail with a faster browser" page that provides links to download IE7, Firefox 3, or Google Chrome.
Interestingly enough, if you use IE7, the page recommends upgrading to Firefox 3 or Google Chrome, as well as offering a link to the IE 8 beta.
So, what's up with Gmail and IE6? And, why is IE7 also on the naughty list? Is it really speed, or is it time to play "follow the money?"
What makes Google's anti-IE6 stance even stranger is that back in September, Google upgraded Gmail to give IE6 users (many of whom are corporate users that must use IE6) comparable features to those available to newer browsers. And, contrary to TG Daily's claim that IE6 is no longer a fully supported browser for Gmail, the "Does Google Mail support my browser" help page still lists IE versions 5.5 and above as fully supported.
The most likely answer for Google's pushing browsers other than IE is simple: its own Chrome web browser. Chrome is noted for its speed, and Google, quite understandably, wants to see Chrome's market share increase. To this end, Google recently replaced Firefox in its Google Pack, and hopes to sign up hardware OEMs to bundle Chrome on new PCs after Chrome emerges from beta early this year.
So, how about it, Gmail users? If you've tried different browsers with Gmail, do you see big improvements in performance when you use Chrome or Firefox versus IE6 or IE7? Is Google really trying to improve your Gmail experience, or just looking for an excuse to get more Chrome users? Hit Comment and tell us what you think.