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We’ve been surprised over the last week or so to see Google’s anti-Firefox messaging in it’s Drive interface.

Are Google being a little sneaky – or rather derogatory to Firefox – with this messaging? When you log into Google Drive with the latest version of Firefox you see the message:

Google Drive upgrade prompt

“You are using an unsupported browser. Some features may not work correctly. Upgrade to a modern browser such as Google Chrome.â€

Now, it’s fair enough if Google choose not to support Firefox. It’s not very community minded, but it’s up to them how they build their products. Also, Drive is their product and so from a business point of view it makes sense to promote your own products and get everyone to use Chrome. But it’s the term “modern browser†that we find unfair.

If they just left it as “You are using an unsupported browser. Some feaatures may not work correctly. Google Drive works best if you use Google Chrome†that would be different. But by saying “Upgrade to a modern browser†suggests that Firefox (v. 16) isn’t a modern browser. And that’s not really fair.

My Mum has no idea what a “modern†web browser is. If she’s told what she’s using is out of date or not up to scratch, she’ll believe it because she doesn’t know any better. She might not actually upgrade – she’d ask me how to do it first! But for people in the middle – who are comfortable upgrading – they’d assume Firefox was old hat.

So we hope Google aren’t on a mission to close down all other browsers – I don’t think they’re quite on Apple or Microsoft’s case yet with Safari and Internet Explorer; maybe community-funded Mozilla are an easier target first even though Google have a shared history of working with Mozilla.

Overall, some more live-and-let-live messaging might be nice.