Friday, 6 July 2012

Browser no longer supported by Blogger!

It is a constant worry to us, the creeping issues operating Google services in browsers other than Chrome. We are watching for signs of lock in as we gradually use applications outside the Windows lock-in we are presently in. We have contigencies in place to manage this risk, but it is very dissapointing to see Google allowing concerns like this grow.

This recently appeared in Blogger for example:

"You browser is no longer supported by Blogger... try Google Chrome"
Blogger has been managing an update to their interface for months now, and we've noticed issues with this new interface all along. While we're happy using Chrome, we're not happy that Blogger has been unable to at least support Firefox and IE!

A bit of looking around reveals this forum thread starting up: Not Supporting Firefox! with what I think is a pretty fair complaint. In that discussion is a link to this blog post that offers an explanation for the loss of support. It basically says that Blogger developers are not able to keep up with the developments of the other browsers, and older versions of those browsers, but they are working to make their system usable on all browsers. That's some reassurance I suppose.. let's look for an official statement along that line.

I dunno, you'd think with months of transitioning to a new interface, Blogger would be working fine on at least the most recent versions of IE, FF, Saf and Chrome.. I could accept it not working on older versions of those brands, but it should be working on the up-to-date versions.

We are noticing similar issues with Google Docs as well. Working fine in Chrome, but not in IE or Safari. It seems Google's priority is to achieve seamlessness across all its services, rather than across the mix of services in and outside Google that people actually use. I smell lock-in.

But on balance, the exact same issue is prevalent in government, schools and universities who are way down the Windows route. They use systems that only work within a Windows environment, and have done for far too long now. Being public servants we should be keeping a principle of interoperability at the forefront of what we do. Which is why we're watching this space with Google, and keeping escape routes in place.

We backup XML files of our Blogger sites monthly, and those files give us the ability to move to Wordpress if need be. For Google Docs, we store stable versions of our documents on a local shared drive, and are slowly working toward formating those documents in open standard formats so documents can be reasonably interoperable with any office document software.

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