Former Google engineer reveals how they plotted to exclude “Internet Explorer 6” from the market

Nearly 10 years ago, YouTube began displaying to Internet Explorer 6 users a banner that browser support will end soon. This message appeared while IE 6 was responsible for around 18 percent. all traffic on the platform. Today, Google’s former engineer, Chris Zacharias, reveals the intriguing secrets of the action, which – as it turns out – has the characteristics of diversion.

Released in 2001, Internet Explorer 6 was a crutch. It was a very archaic solution, but no accountant would let go of the support, given its relatively high popularity. The YouTube programmers team decided to act on their own.

The plan was very simple. Place a small banner over the player, which will appear only for IE 6 users – he continues. And he explains: – The engineers have implemented this banner, knowing that most employees using the company’s browser will not see it, and the viewers will change to a newer solution with guaranteed compatibility with our service.

They used moderate control

Google took over YouTube in October 2006, but during the conspiracy, in 2009 – 10, the site has not yet been fully adapted to the infrastructure of the new owner.

Developers then worked on a special set of permissions called “OldTuber”, bypassing Google’s policies and making changes directly to the YouTube code, with very limited control. Zacharias and his colleagues had such rights, so nobody blocked their banner. – We saw the opportunity to permanently weaken IE 6 – admits Zacharias.

The banner appeared in July 2009. The media immediately publicized the matter by interpreting the message as a well thought-out Google action. – The first person who came to our office was the head of the PR team – says Zacharias. Replacing that at that time, every major technology publication asked why YouTube threatened to kill support for IE 6, since it is still eagerly used. – We told them [PR] everything about what we had launched, and we helped them create the necessary arguments for the conversation to properly develop the media narrative.

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