Well, give them credit for an interesting ploy: Google announced today that it would extend support for its Chrome browser on Windows XP through at least April 2015. That's a full year after Microsoft plans to end support of the operating system, opening up the remaining tens of millions of users to potential new security threats.
This is a big deal because IT is collectively scrambling now to meet the April 2014 deadline. According to the latest usage share figures, there are still 400-500 million Windows XP users out there, mostly in corporations. And while that number is dropping rapidly each month, it's pretty clear that April 2014 is going to come and go and leave many of those users—and the companies that control their PCs—in the lurch.
What does the Google support offer mean?
"Since unpatched browser bugs are often used by malware to infect computers, we’re extending support for Chrome on Windows XP, and will continue to provide regular updates and security patches until at least April 2015," Google director of engineering and superintendent of public safety Mark Larson notes in a new post to the Google Enterprise Blog. "We recognize that hundreds of millions of users, including a good chunk of current Chrome users, still rely on XP. Moreover, many organizations still run dozens or even hundreds of applications on XP and may have trouble migrating. Our goal is to support Chrome for XP users during this transition process. Most importantly, Chrome on XP will still be automatically updated with the latest security fixes to protect against malware and phishing attacks."
So that's the official word.
And good for Google: This actually will help Chrome-using XP users, and could bring some XP PCs into the Chrome fold. Which is of course the point. The hope, here, I suppose is that Chrome will pick up more users, generally, but also possibly some future Chrome OS converts. After all, if there are businesses out there making do with XP a full 12 years after its release, and those businesses are looking to Chrome to help pad out that usage, they're pretty much ideal candidates for Chrome OS.
Someone has to support these guys.