Windows XP users will get another 18 months free of worry from security holes in Google's Chrome browser.
Google says it will support Chrome for Windows XP until at least April 2015, one year after extended Windows XP support from Microsoft is due to end. (Microsoft ended mainstream support for the aging operating system in 2009.)
"We recognize that hundreds of millions of users, including a good chunk of current Chrome users, still rely on XP," a Google blog post said. "Moreover, many organizations still run dozens or even hundreds of applications on XP and may have trouble migrating."
The blog post explained that malware often exploits unpatched security bugs in Web browsers to infect computers. By keeping Chrome up to date until 2015, Google can at least prevent browser-based attacks from wreaking havoc while organizations move to newer versions of Windows.
Google also noted that IT pros can use Legacy Browser Support in Chrome for specific Web apps that only work in a different browser such as Internet Explorer. That way, users won't have to rely on an unpatched browser when accessing other websites.
Microsoft has already stopped supporting Windows XP support in Internet Explorer 9 and later, but continues to deliver security updates for Internet Explorer 8.
Given that Google and other Web services have been dropping support for IE8 and older versions, users might want a browser that's still getting feature updates instead of just security patches. Windows XP still enjoys a roughly 20 percent market share according to StatCounter, so Google may see an opportunity to lock those users into its browser-based ecosystem.