Google upgrades Gmail for IE 6 users

The online e-mail application is faster for those using the 7-year-old browser and gets features already available to more modern browsers, Google said.

There's a lot of action in the browser market these days: Google just launched its Chrome browser, Firefox 3.1 is due in months, Apple hopes Safari will spread across the world of Windows, and Microsoft is touting its second beta of Internet Explorer 8.

But a huge swath of Internet users is still getting by with IE 6, which is no doubt is why Google just released a new version of Gmail for the vintage 2001-era browser.

The update means IE 6 users will get access to colored labels for messages, Gmail Labs features, integration with AOL Instant Messenger, and invisible mode for IM, Google engineer Jon Perlow said on Google's Gmail blog on Friday. The upgrade catches IE 6 users up to features available to users of Firefox 3, IE 7, and Safari 3.

Google said it worked with Microsoft's IE engineers on some of other issues, including memory-related performance issue when running JavaScript programs in the browser, and Google pared back some user interface features that had been causing trouble for IE 6 users.

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