April 8, 2014 marks the end of support for Windows XP. We've covered that quite a bit here on Windows IT Pro, but in case you missed it, check out our Windows XP section for all the news about the detriments and costs for harboring the aged operating system in your organization. Also, read the prescriptive guidance for migrating to a newer Windows operating system.
Windows XP has been in service for over a decade. Microsoft has actually extended support for the OS a few times. And, while we've offered some gentle direction about the why's and wherefores' for migrating, simply put: its time. All software products have an end life, and after 10 years, companies should have been clued in at some point.
However, if you choose to delay migration until after April 2014, Google is suggesting they can help support you. Yes, that Google. The one that has been reported on many occasions of sending sales teams into companies who bash the IT team to management and recommend their Cloud services can replace the entire IT group.
How will they do it?
In a blog post seemingly inspired by the Walking Dead TV series, Mark Larson, Director of Engineering and Superintendent of Public Safety for Google Chrome, says Google will extend the support of the Chrome web browser running on Windows XP until April 2015 – a year after Windows XP loses all support from Microsoft. Google suggests that if they can provide security fixes for Chrome to defend Windows XP against malware and phishing attacks then that should be enough. However, unless Google is somehow going to work with AV vendors and get them to also extend their support, I'm not sure exactly what value this is for Windows XP users. Or maybe, Google has a secret line to locating hackers and malware writers through Google Maps and can hire someone to bust some kneecaps.
The fact is, the value of this communication is not really for organizations running Windows XP, but for Google. Just like they do with all of their web properties and services, they show value in one hand but have the other hand hidden behind their back. Google's primary revenue stream is from advertisements. So, while you may use Gmail, Google's web-based email service, they are reading through your content to serve you advertisements.
A year of Google supporting Chrome on Windows XP gives the search company a year of selling their other services, including devices running the Chrome OS. There's a good chance many will bite since Chrome OS devices will be cheaper alternatives to new PCs running a new Windows. Ironically, users would be trading one unsecure operating system for another. Also, Chrome OS requires a solid Internet connection to function and many still running Windows XP past the deadline are also those that have need for faster connections.
I'm sure Google has thought all of this out, right?
Chrome is a good web browser. It really is. And, if Microsoft hadn't improved Internet Explorer as much as they did with version 10, I'd still be using Chrome right now.
But, it's a WEB BROWSER.