The Old Version of Gmail Will Be Discontinued in September

When Google released a new version of Gmail, back in 2007, you could still switch to the old version by clicking on a link at the top of the page. At some point, the link has been moved to the bottom of the page, where it's still available.

3 years after releasing Gmail 2.0, Google decided to drop the old version, which doesn't include features like themes, Gmail Labs, Gmail Chat, Buzz, hiding labels or multiple file upload.

"You're using an old version of Gmail which will be retired in September. At that point, you'll be redirected to a basic HTML view. To get faster Gmail and the newest features, please upgrade to a modern browser," informs a Gmail message.

Most likely, Google continued to offer to the old version of Gmail because the new version doesn't work well in Internet Explorer 6. If you visit Gmail in IE6 and you haven't installed this patch, you can't switch to the new version, even if you manually change the URL. Staring from next month, IE6 users will be redirected to the "basic HTML" interface, used for outdated browsers.

Google rarely provides the option to switch to an old version of an application or a feature. For example, you can still switch to the old image search interface, to the old Gmail contact manager and you can still use the classic Blogger editor (an option that will be removed soon). Preserving the old version of a service could be helpful to determine if users like the new version, but it's not a good idea to keep an interface that's no longer maintained. Some users might never try the new version of the application because it doesn't look familiar, while other users might never notice that the initial bugs have been fixed.