GOOGLE HAS REVEALED that it will continue to support Windows XP throughout 2015 in the form of Chrome browser updates.
The defunct operating system, which still holds 16.94 percent of the global market according to figures released in March, is no longer being patched for security problems or compatibility by Microsoft after the OS reached end of life status on 8 April 2014.
However, Google has now stepped in, reversing plans announced in October 2013 to abandon support for XP from this month.
Google Chrome will now keep working right through to the end of 2015, which will minimise the risk of any browser-based nasties turning up.
Mark Larson, director of engineering at Google Chrome, fell short of explaining the reason for the change of heart, simply saying: "We know that not everyone can easily switch to a newer operating system.
"Millions of people are still working on XP computers every day. We want those people to have the option to use a browser that’s up to date and as safe as possible on an unsupported operating system."
It could prove quite a canny move for Google, as it provides a safer option for people stuck in an XP environment than an out-of-date and unsecured version of Microsoft Internet Explorer.
The move will also get those XP holdouts used to Chrome as a browser, and it is a short leap from there to using Chrome as an operating system. So when those machines finally die, maybe those determined not to be tied down to Windows 10 will think Chromebook.
Of course, they might not. There's no official explanation for the move, but it does seem to be using the collective noggin of the Googletron to win a new audience.
Meanwhile, over at Mozilla, the company's Firefox browser continues to quietly and smugly support Windows XP with no end date given. µ
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