Your Browser Is Busted!

There's really no excuse for running an old and busted browser these days.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) keeps pushing the boundaries of speed and functionality with its Chrome product. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) keeps Safari close behind, since it runs on the same central code as Chrome. Firefox has stepped up its game recently with faster updates. Even old fogey Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) has a truly modern browser in its Internet Explorer 9.

One or more of these should cover your every need. And if we all keep our software up to date, Web programmers have fewer reasons to write clunky workarounds for the bugs and quirks of IE 6 or Firefox 3.

Google is about to force our hands. Starting this August, browsers older than Lady Gaga's career just won't be considered when Google makes changes to its Docs suite. Firefox 3.5, Internet Explorer 7, Apple's Safari 3, and their predecessors will all fall under this umbrella. Some new features simply require the HTML5 muscle seen only in newer browsers, so the old junk gets left behind.

That's a gutsy move, since this change affects a large swath of Google products: "In these older browsers you may have trouble using certain features in Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs and Google Sites, and eventually these apps may stop working entirely."

Yeah, that's right -- Big G is betting on users upgrading their browsers rather than losing Gmail. The login-promoting powers of Gmail and Google Calendar are the very foundation for Google's monetizing ad surge in areas traditionally owned by Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO  ) and Microsoft. The time must really be ripe in order to take this drastic step.

Most modern browsers keep themselves freshly updated in a way that the old guard never could. Loading the last of the Luddites onto this bandwagon would be a major win for Web developers everywhere, and will end up saving tons of money and headaches for Google and its online rivals.

This is another small step toward a world in which cloud computing does everything your old desktop used to do on its own. Confused? Have a look at this free video where we explain exactly what cloud computing is, how it's changing the world, and how you can invest in that revolution. Just click here to get started -- like I said, it's 100% free!

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Google, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Yahoo!, Google, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a diagonal call position in Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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