Update: While Gmail on older versions of Chrome will continue to function after 2017, it will no longer be “supported for quality assurance and security” by Google. The article has been updated to reflect this.
The silent update mechanism in Chrome is a genius feature that guarantees you are always on the latest version. There are always reasons why people and organizations can’t upgrade, but to provide further encouragement, Google has announced that Gmail will stop receiving support on Chrome 53 and lower by the end of this year.
Google notes that Chrome 55, released in December, includes several important security updates. Those using Gmail on older versions of the browser are “more vulnerable to security risks and users will not have access to new features and bugfixes.”
The company is mandating that users be at least on Chrome 54 in order to continue getting full access to all of Gmail’s features. By the end of the year, Gmail on Chrome 53 and below will be directed to the HTML5 version.
Starting next week, users with older versions will see a banner at the top of Gmail encouraging them to update.
Current Windows XP and Windows Vista users are the ones most likely impacted by this new requirement. In line with Microsoft dropping support, Chrome 49 released in April was the last version for those operating systems.
Google’s early announcement of this deprecation is specifically aimed at those users due to the “expected impact on Windows XP and Windows Vista users and known security risks.”