Google dropped a bomb (albeit a relatively quite one) on Monday when they began their phase-out of support for Internet Explorer 6 and announced that YouTube will follow suit in a few weeks. For IE6 users this means that certain parts of these site won't work quite right, and you'll get a pesky pop-up from time-to-time reminding you to upgrade. For web developers, this (hopefully!) means that it's time to celebrate, because IE6 might finally be dead.
You see, IE6 is the grandfather of modern web browsers. Not the old, wise kind, though. More like the grumpy kind that yells at you to get off his lawn. It's an old fellow: it's been around for almost 8 years in a world where brand new technology becomes obsolete every day. This is the main cause for web powerhouses like Google to drop support for it: the latest-and-greatest web technologies simply don't work on old browsers, and trying to accommodate for this would only hold Google back.
One of the biggest challenges as web developers is trying to work around IE6's quirky and illogical behavior. Every website we create at Insight Designs is tested on no less than 8 different browsers including IE6, and IE6 is the one that single-handedly causes the most problems. Because about 10% of all web surfing is done on IE6, though, it's impossible to ignore the old browser. But hopefully Google has the kind of clout to change this by strong-arming IE6 users into upgrading.
As if there weren't already a million reasons to make the switch (including speed, reliability, and security), maybe Google's announcement will finally convince the last handful of web surfers still clinging to this sinking browser to jump ship.