Internet Explorer 8, which launched in 2009, isn’t exactly a modern browser by any standards and it’s slowly turning into the new Internet Explorer 6. Google stopped supporting Google Apps on IE8 last year, and today, the company announced that Google Analytics will also stop supporting it by the end of the year.
The Google Analytics team says it made the decision because it wants to be able to “accelerate the pace at which we can innovate new product features” and to “facilitate adoption of newer web technologies in the design of the Google Analytics product.” It’s worth noting that Analytics will continue to measure traffic from IE8.
According to StatCounter, IE8 currently has a worldwide market share of just over 8 percent. The most recent version, IE10, now commands just over 11 percent of the total browser market, while IE9 is just being used by 5 percent of Internet users (in North America, the numbers are a little bit higher). While IE8′s usage stats are pointing down, it’s been a very slow trend (much slower than the adoption of IE10 over IE9). Just a year ago, IE8 was still at over 13.5 percent in StatCounter’s rankings. Because Windows XP users can’t upgrade to anything above IE8, we’ll likely see it it in the rankings for quite a while longer, too.
Google, of course, has long been a proponent of modern web standards, and it said its main reason for launching Chrome was to push web development forward. Old browsers, however, simply don’t support the features that modern web apps need in order to provide the kind of desktop-like experience Google and other developers want to achieve.