back to article Google flushes out users of old browsers by serving up CLUNKY, AGED version of search

Google is attempting to shunt users away from old browsers by intentionally serving up a stale version of the ad giant's search homepage to those holdouts. The tactic appears to be falling in line with Mountain View's policy on its other Google properties, such as Gmail, which the company declines to fully support on aged …

  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Holmes

    Chrome cam

    Just create a version of Chrome that keeps my bookmarks, searches, URL history, page thumbnails, browsing habits, login/uptime stats, network ping times, current location, passwords, and nearby WiFi points off the cloud. I'll buy it for $10 if it helps recover R&D. Until then, it's a weird mix of Firefox and Safari running web bug blocker plugins.

    1. Gordon Lawrie

      Re: Chrome cam

      What about Chromium? There isn't an installer and you would be responsible for updating yourself but it might do the job? Dragon Browser from Comodo is also based on the Chromium code base.

      http://www.chromium.org/

      http://www.comodo.com/home/browsers-toolbars/browser.php

      1. Test Man

        Re: Chrome cam

        There is an installer for Chromium

        http://commondatastorage.googleapis.com/chromium-browser-snapshots/index.html?prefix=Win/

        This is a folder of regular builds of the browser.

        Go into the folder with the largest update and download the mini_installer.exe file.

        You should check back in here often as new builds are dropped in here regularly.

        1. monkeyfish

          Re: Chrome cam

          Or even new Opera (i.e 15+), it too is based on Chrome. I can't comment on if your data is held locally or not, but Norway isn't too a bad a destination even if it isn't.

        2. Gordon Lawrie

          Re: Chrome cam

          I was not aware of that. Thank you muchly.

    2. Carl W

      Re: Chrome cam

      Isn't this what SRWare Iron does?

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. h3

    I would take the really old one by choice.

    (And the old algorithms that seemed to give me what I wanted far more often.)

    I want the most useful content not the closest to me or most recent.

    The old one with pages from the UK - the age stuff down the side - all white was totally fine by me.

    1. stucs201

      ^^^ This

      I think this will backfire on them. Many people sticking with older browsers will be doing so because they don't like having the UI messed around. Not updating these users to the latest UI for the website would seem to be exactly what they want.

      1. cs94njw

        Re: ^^^ This

        Backfire? So people will then use the alternative decent search engine.... ummm... oh...

        Although to be fair, if you're working inside a company where they dictate what version of browser you use due to legacy Intranet websites, then you'll be unfairly stuffed by this :(

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ^^^ This

        I have to agree. Other reasons many don't 'upgrade' is the new versions often AREN'T as improved, performance-wise, as the dream-merchants would like us to believe. This just leads to frustration on a users part. I know personally, I use a mix of old and new, based on the sites I'm visiting. I also know that old versions can move around a lot quicker too . . . especially when the broadband isn't quite so broad. So I say "Pfft!" to Google, and yes -- I've long stopped recommending using Google to any of my clients or associates who ask.

    2. Purple-Stater

      Re: I would take the really old one by choice.

      Totally on board with you! I was wondering if I could get to an old enough version that putting the "+" on words actually worked again?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Re: I would take the really old one by choice.

      Absolutely,

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: I would take the really old one by choice.

      Beat us to the post. Totally agree.

      The "instant search" is kind of handy, but too cumbersome for my liking for it to be on 24/7.

      Add to that the... well, adds. I left Yahoo for Google when the adds and spam/scams plagued Yahoo searches, and Google gave real data with adds as part of the website/service. Now I get the adds as the results of searches. Try searching anything technical about a machine/appliance and you get 10 pages of sales on shops/Amazon and nothing about real manuals/service or even a wikipedia (gasp) entry.

  3. Mage Silver badge

    Obnoxious

    They keep putting banners now and again telling me that I ought to use Chrome. That's abuse of their dominant position,

    I prefer Mozilla's spyware.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Obnoxious

      Mozilla is fine, but it leaks memory like a sieve.

      I've finally given up on it until they fix that.

      1. asdf

        Re: Obnoxious

        Haven't used it since the Firefox 3.x days huh? Chrome really got FF it get its shit together to the point today it is largely a Chrome clone with more plugins less sand boxing (admittedly haven't looked into that for awhile though) and no embedded flash player.

        1. Martin-73

          Re: Obnoxious

          Firefox is indeed a chrome clone in its default installation, hideous looking. But it still has massive memory overuse problems

          1. Dr. Mouse

            Re: Obnoxious

            That's why I made the switch, too. I've used FF for years, but tried chrome and found it used far less memory. FF is just a memory hog.

            The only problem I have with chrome is the text rendering. It's pretty crap. Comparing a page of text between chrome and IE, you can see a huge difference.

            1. jason 7

              Re: Obnoxious

              Bet seriously if you have a 8GB+ PC or laptop then what's the issue with Firefox using say 500MB behind the scenes compared to Chrome using maybe 300MB?

              If Firefox gives you the better front end functionality and control what's the hassle of it using more ram when ram is no longer an issue? Sure it would be lovely if all browsers worked in just 50Mb but is that realistic?

              It's not like its 2002 after all.

          2. Truth4u

            Re: Obnoxious

            "massive memory overuse problems"

            Firefox never uses more than a gig. How much memory do you have? Like 2 gigs?

            Get with the program, we have 64bit systems now.

            1 gig out of 12 means its using like £5 worth of memory, and if you prorate that by the age of my PC (3 yr +), it costs absolutely nothing to run Firefox.

            The flash player on the other hand uses hundreds of watts a year in CPU cycles so if you want to save resources.....

            1. Dr. Mouse

              Re: Obnoxious

              For myself, FF was regularly using between 500MB and 1GB. Even on my system (at the time) with 4GB RAM, when doing heavy multitasking, this was excessive. On my wifes laptop (again, at the time) with 2GB RAM, things slowed to a crawl.

              Also, you are using the same false premise that MS use when developing Office/Windows etc. Just because the resources are there, doesn't mean you should be hogging them. If computer tech moves on, why not use those resources to make things run faster, rather than hogging them and keeping things running the same.

              It amazes me how much faster computers are today than even 10 years ago, and yet how similar the performance is for every day tasks.

              So, I can get very similar experience from Chrome as I can from FF, yet using half the memory. This means that memory is available to all the other things I use, and results in a much more responsive machine. It's only a web browser, for crying out loud, why does it need a gig of RAM?

              1. jason 7

                Re: Obnoxious

                But you are still referring to a usage case...from the past.

                Is it relevant to today?

                1. Dr. Mouse

                  Re: Obnoxious

                  Is it relevant to today?

                  OK, let's take today.

                  My own PC is just a slightly upgraded version of what I had before. I've added a bit more RAM, a new graphics card (the old one died) and an SSD. Maybe, with 6GB RAM, I could go back to FF, but why should I? Chrome does the job, I've gotten used to it, and it still uses less RAM, meaning more RAM for everything else. In addition, it "just works" when it comes to syncing data with my phone.

                  At work, my place has standardised on Chrome, so I stick to that. The dev tools are good, and again it does the job. We also have a lot of lower spec machines (many still running Vista) which will not be replaced until they become unreliable, and these run better with Chrome than FF.

                  My wife has a new laptop, now, and she uses whatever she uses. I don't get involved any more, as I get in trouble if I "mess with it" or "break it".

                  So, for me, yes it is still relevant. I only used FF before because that was what I had been using for many years. It took a lot to get me to switch, but now I have, it will take a lot for me to go back (and a lower memory footprint would be a very good start).

                  1. jason 7

                    Re: Obnoxious

                    So it's now personal preference rather than an actual hardware issue that's stopping you going back to FF.

                    At least that's straight now.

                    So bottom line, if you have a modern PC from at least this decade you should be fine running FF.

                    If not maybe the Reg should have an appeal whereby those of us more fortunate with 4GB+ can donate some of our 'unused' ram to those less fortunate or technically able?

                    "Just an extra 256MB could make all the difference to this web designer! So please give all you can!"

                    1. Dr. Mouse

                      Re: Obnoxious

                      So it's now personal preference rather than an actual hardware issue that's stopping you going back to FF.

                      Only partially.

                      I do use FF and IE for testing purposes. FF is still wasteful of memory, and (in my subjective opinion) is no faster than Chrome. So, even if I have lots of RAM available for it, FF uses more memory to achieve the same result, which results in less being available for the myriad of other tasks I perform, which leads to lower overall system performance.

                      So maybe it is personal preference. I prefer to have a system which makes the best possible use of the resources available to it. I prefer for a machine with a set hardware specification to run as fast as possible. I prefer not to have to spend additional money just to make a system run as well as it can, when a simple software choice can do that.

                      1. jason 7

                        Re: Obnoxious

                        So much thought and consideration over 300MB of ram...in 2014.

            2. Cryo

              Re: Obnoxious

              I only have a couple Gigs of RAM on this older system, and unfortunately, Firefox does seem to be very wasteful of memory. This is more of a concern when you work with relatively large numbers of tabs, where the browser can end up using all your available memory rather easily. Tab grouping helps, but I get the impression that the browser is wasting some resources for tabs that aren't even loaded. On the other hand, Chromium-derivatives seem to be even worse at efficiently handling large numbers of tabs, so it's not like there's a decent alternative. Some older versions of Opera are far better at managing lots of tabs, but they're outdated and have performance issues in other areas at this point. It seems like after the big "browser war" rush of a few years back, things have kind of stagnated in terms of performance and features in recent years, despite there being lots of room for improvement.

  4. Naughtyhorse

    The bug has a bug

    Latest chrome on win 7 all patched and up to date.

    Browser reverted to something from the dark ages a week or so ago.

    I managed to convince myself I had been hacked.

    Ended up deleting partition and re-installing everything from the ground up.

    well that's 3 days of my life I won't get back

    Do no evil!

    Fuckken thanks a fukken bunch fukken google.

    Cabron!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The bug has a bug

      ROFL

  5. ScissorHands
    Megaphone

    Feature, not bug...

    So, by holding my trusted copy of Opera 12.x close to my chest, I'm being served the less intrusive, leaner and faster version of Google's properties?

    Yipeee??

    1. petur
      Thumb Up

      Re: Feature, not bug...

      Indeed, looks like I'll be experimenting with user agents to get back a functional google page, not the fancy crap they are serving now :)

    2. david 12

      Re: Feature, not bug...

      Yes. I've given up trying to make my browser show me the fast version of gmail, so I use a seperate (old) browser for gmail.

      1. Jess

        Re: I've given up trying to make my browser show me the fast version of gmail,

        I block javascript, then it asks me if I want to use the non JS version of gmail, and that appears to be an account setting rather than a cookie.

        Much better than the new style version.

    3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Feature, not bug...

      The "old" image search now offers no link to the image itself, only the page that google thinks the image is on.

      While the "current" google image search has a nightmarish interface, at least it works...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What pleb uses Opera 12 still?

    The latest is Opera 24, and includes crap loads of security fixes, performance improvements, and works with modern websites. (Presto is obsolete and works with very little these days).

    Some people need a slap, they really do.

    1. Andy Mac

      Re: What pleb uses Opera 12 still?

      Opera 12 is still actively supported and I'll happily upgrade when they finally finish reinstating all the useful features they ripped out when they moved to Chromium.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What pleb uses Opera 12 still?

      Well in my case, it's the sort of pleb who believes the "You have the latest version of Opera" prompt after I ask it to check for updates.

      Also, when I go to opera.com and hit the 'help and support' link (I was looking to see what developments have developed before committing to anything; now that I know there's a new one), it's just help for v12.

      Only difference I can see is they've done away with the separate search bar; which doesn't make me happy.

    3. Muzer

      Re: What pleb uses Opera 12 still?

      Do you use Opera? If not, please refrain on commenting on something you clearly don't understand.

      Opera 12 is the last real version of Opera. Opera 15+ are just Chromium with a red skin and features removed. Opera 12 has been receiving the occasional security update. It's also STILL the latest version for Linux AFAICT.

      Some people need a slap, indeed. Specifically, those who advocate using Opera 15+ as any form of alternative or upgrade to Opera 12 with a straight face.

      1. Diogenes

        Re: What pleb uses Opera 12 still?

        I do, as my main browser. Why ? It still has email baked in. For 99% of sites it still works a treat - one of the few that don't is Adobe trial downloads - but that didn't play nice with IE11 at the time either.Ido have Chrome, but only use it because of itsBrackets integration. I also have Firefox, but only use that it when I need a video downloaded and use the appropriate plugin.

        I am happy with and used to, the UI.

        Google can go and f-off. What is so special about search results that they need the latest greatest language feature anyway?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What pleb uses Opera 12 still?

        @Muzer

        Yes, I am a long-term Opera user from around V7 or so, when you could buy a licence or use the ad-supported version. (I paid for mine, it was so good)

        Yes, there are still some features missing from webkit based Opera, but in Opera 25, it's hard to pinpoint any major feature that's not there now.

        What's missing was cruft that needed culling anyway.. The biggest problem with Presto is there were hundreds of big sites that didn't work properly. Since Presto died, that number is now 10x bigger.

        Opera has sadly always attracted hipsters, not due to it's technical merits (Presto was a fine rendering engine back when), but because it was cool to be different. That same cool is what's keeping these plebs harping on about Opera 12 and presto. A quick look at their Desktop Blog comments, and it's a VERY small minority of users that are EXREMELY vocal.

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: What pleb uses Opera 12 still?

          ...it's hard to pinpoint any major feature that's not there now.

          Yeah, 'cos Opera 23 (the current stable version that's linked from their front page) makes it so easy to put the tab bar down the left side of the screen. And I love the way it lets me group tabs together.

          And I don't miss the Right-Click > Edit Site Preferences menu option at all.

          Face it, Opera as it stands is a beta product compared to version 12. And until that changes, I won't be bothering with it.

          As for Google deliberately crippling websites, they've never given a shit about Opera anyway. Opera basically acknowledged this when they switched to Chromium.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What pleb uses Opera 12 still?

            "...it's hard to pinpoint any major feature that's not there now.

            Yeah, 'cos Opera 23 (the current stable version that's linked from their front page) makes it so easy to put the tab bar down the left side of the screen."

            He said "major features". That's a nice-to-have.

            "And I love the way it lets me group tabs together."

            Actually, I like not having to wrestle with the bloody thing trying to stack tabs. I've never wanted to stack a tab in my life.

            "And I don't miss the Right-Click > Edit Site Preferences menu option at all."

            Well, I'm with you on that but it is still possible to edit site preferences.

            "Face it, Opera as it stands is a beta product compared to version 12. And until that changes, I won't be bothering with it."

            I've been using it at work for a while and it's okay, really. I miss email but work uses MS Shitelook anyway.

        2. Cryo

          Re: What pleb uses Opera 12 still?

          The "new Opera" is largely pointless. If you like it, than you might as well be using any other Chromium derivative, as it's ultimately just a re-skinned Chromium with a few extensions built-in and a few other features missing. The real reason Opera moved to Chromium was simply to save face when they discontinued their browser suite. Rather than admit that desktop Opera has been discontinued, they released a low-maintenance hack based off an open-source program to take its place while they focused on mobile. I wouldn't count on them ever restoring most old features of the browser. And really, the main thing Opera had going for it was its extensive feature set and customizable UI, both of which were dumped in the Chromium version. People stuck with Opera despite the occasional site incompatibilities because of it's feature set. The "new Opera" might have roughly the same site compatibility as other browsers, but that's the only thing it has. It lacks almost everything that made the browser worth using over the competition.

          "A quick look at their Desktop Blog comments, and it's a VERY small minority of users that are EXREMELY vocal."

          It's probably a small minority because most others gave up hope and abandoned the thing long ago. I switched to FF as my primary browser last year, after using Opera for many years, and haven't really been visiting their development blog since. Just looking at various web stats, you can see that desktop Opera is on a continual downward trend in terms of its userbase, not counting the mobile browser. Most long-term users won't be interested in the new browser, as it's "Opera" in name only, and the previous versions can only hold up for so long. The only way I'd likely consider coming back to Opera as my primary browser is if they open-sourced their old desktop suite as "Opera Classic" or something.

    4. ScissorHands
      Trollface

      Re: What pleb uses Opera 12 still?

      Opera 12 works with the Register. Good enough for me.

    5. Tannin

      Re: What pleb uses Opera 12 still?

      Please learn a little about the subject before posting nonsense.

      1: "Opera 24" isn't Opera, it's just a buggified version of Chrome with different wallpaper.

      2: The "performance improvements" (if any) delivered by the third-rate Chrome clone now masquerading as Opera are next to useless because the UI is so bad. This is not just a matter of taste or preference, many of the basic Opera functions are missing or broken or just horribly wrong. Chromepera doesn't even have a functional bookmark system. (Possibly that particular shocker is finally fixed now, I haven't checked the last couple of releases Certainly in numerous major releases of Chromepera it wasn't just broken it was completely missing. No bookmarks at all! Err ... what is this, 1987 again?)

      2b: In any case, under heavy workloads Opera 12.x easily outperforms both IE and Firefox. (Under light loads, of course, performance doesn't matter 'coz any browser copes just fine.) Unlike IE and Firefox, Opera 12.x stands up robustly to very large numbers of open windows and tabs; the system remains responsive and Opera 12.x keeps running happily long beyond the point where Firefox curls up into a little ball and cries itself to death. (IE has long since given up at the Firefox death point, of course, though the later versions are at least much improved. I can't really comment on Chrome's ability to deal with high page counts - the Chome tab-management UI becomes dysfunctional quite early on, so it's doubtful anyone ever goes there with it.)

      Presto is indeed obsolete; nevertheless it works just fine with with the vast majority of sites and in Opera 12.x form provides a level of functionality and user control far beyond that provided by any alternative. In particular, the ability to set per-site Javascript blocking with a couple of clicks and per-site CSS overrides almost as easily is unique.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What pleb uses Opera 12 still?

      Those who wanted to use OPERA not a reskinned Chrome.

      The real plebs are those who blindly follow the Lie that changes are always improvements, and that re-skinning Googles spyware browser makes it Opera, and of course those too blind or stupid to see that move for what it was - a "land grab" for more personal data.

      That's why I dumped Opera after 10 years - I was using it before Firefox launched - I know there is almost no such thing as privacy or full control over your personal data on the web (unless you are a politician or mega business head) but I avoid Google wherever possible, and that includes stealth copies of their browser malware

    7. Mr Templedene

      Re: What pleb uses Opera 12 still?

      I do, simply because it is the latest version of Opera available for mageia, none of the more recent versions are available yet.

      Although from what I have heard I'm not convinced I want to upgrade.

  7. Roland6 Silver badge

    IE8 on XP exhibits this behaviour

    Interestingly, on XP, both Chrome and Maxthon display the 'new' Google homepage, but with IE8 the black toolbar is displayed. All seems to be okay on Windows 7.

  8. Peter 26

    Brilliant, I must downgrade my browser to bring back the old page. Why they thought 1 click to get to maps or news would be better with 3?

  9. ckm5

    This is great

    The old page is way, way faster. I'm switching my user agent to Opera 8 just for Google.

    1. Cipher
      Facepalm

      Re: This is great

      Surprised this idea took so long to make the comments, editing the user agent your browser reports is so easy to do.

      Duckduckgo it to find out how...

  10. ashdav

    Why Google?

    Use another search engine/home page etc. FFS

    It's not hard.

  11. PeeWee

    Mmmmm... Free upgrade...

    I have to keep my IE version at 8 due to legacy apps that need the thing (we're trialing 11, but it's got some way to go yet). So, I've just fired it up to see this.

    Yup, as described. What I wasn't expecting was how much I prefer the older version. I feel a TamperMonkey script for Chrome coming on...

  12. tokyo-octopus

    Yay, usable maps again

    Dunno about anyone else, but for me the "new" maps is an annoying PITA to use (too many "helpful" information boxes which have counter-intuitive behaviour; the irritating strip of photos which pops up in street view and which keeps popping up no matter how often you click the "hide" button; the general slowness and feeling of bloat...)

    I also truly hope the function which causes Google to arrogantly second-guess what you're searching for ("Hey, this user is searching for 'London', let's return results for 'Paris' because we're clever and think the user must be looking for capital cities in Europe") has been toned down a bit. (Well it's not quite that extreme but I'm sure you know what I mean).

    1. Dr Trevor Marshall
      Thumb Up

      Re: Yay, usable maps again

      Thanks for that tip. I will use IE8 when I want to use MAPS. The new interface is an abomination, and, as you say, they serve up the good ol' one for IE8. Thanks :) And no thanks to Google for second-guessing that I like their new menu-less interface. I don't. It sucks. It has made me shift to Bing Maps. But now there is a pathway back to what works so well -- thanks Google :)

      1. Lexxy
        Go

        Re: Yay, usable maps again

        I also find the new full-screen maps to be slower and difficult to use.

        You can however revert to the "old maps" without user agent jiggery-pokery by using the question mark link in the bottom right and clicking the menu item "Return to classic Google maps".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yay, usable maps again

          And when you do revert to Classic maps, don't forget to tell them why....

          1. Caesarius
            Unhappy

            Re: Tell them why (was Re: Yay, usable maps again)

            No! Don't tell them! I have this horrible feeling that they will take away our toys more effectively.

            Too bad. The cat's out of the bag.

    2. xyz Silver badge

      Re: Yay, usable maps again

      It's not only maps that is now crap...The google search app on a winphone is bloody useless, dunno about other phone OSs...mind you Bing on anything is gob stoppingly, let's hump the bunk bad. I mean you really have to go some to make it so bad... even hotbot can find me, whereas Bing shows me results kinda like what I typed... maybe Google is trying to copy MS or they've employed someone called Ballmer as a consultant. It's getting to the stage where people will start looking for another search engine that isn't trying to turn a results set into a "spend" opportunity.

    3. breakfast

      Re: Yay, usable maps again

      Also the new maps doesn't work at all on Chrome for Linux for quite a lot of users. Or at least it just shows a completely black screen, so I guess maybe it's just forecasting our imminent vanishing into a cunningly hidden singularity or something. But it's quite annoying if you want to look at a map.

      1. tokyo-octopus

        Re: Yay, usable maps again

        Oh, interesting. I was finding that with SeaMonkey but put it down to it to obscure to support whatever bit of Javascript jiggerypokery was causing the glitch.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is nice and all, but why bother with legacy Google when you can use not-Google?

  14. dan1980

    I don't get it.

    The old version of the page is better all around:

    * No automatically changing the screen as you type - you stay where you are until you're ready to press enter and search.

    * Select image/video/news/etc... search from the first page instead of having to search first and then change.

    * Image search is MUCH quicker and neater with the page-based layout (no continuous scrolling) and the handy sidebar is better than the 'Search tools' and horizontal drop lists. You can also see the file name, website and image size right off the bat.

    * Likewise, normal 'Search Tools' are available on the left without needing to use a drop down - very handy for quickly refining results for location.

    * 'Advanced search' available right from the start.

    I don't know about anyone else but that's not much of a reason to update . . .

    1. king of foo

      'The' reason to update anything is and has always been safety. Speed/features are (sometimes) nice too, but it's the security aspect that makes updating (a) necessary (evil).

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I use gmail because it gives me access to my emails wherever I am. I spend a lot of time on client locations and systems, and very few offer me the option to use my own laptop on their network. I am mostly forced to use the systems available. This isn't generally problematic, because they all have some sort of browser and an internet connection.

    However, i have no control whatsoever over the browser or version installed on those systems, I just use whatever is available to me.

    As long as I get off with some sort of warning that I'm using old hat I don't really care, but if Google insist I use the latest and greatest to access my email and do searches I will quickly be forced to use services from another supplier.

    Maybe it's just an opportunity in disguise.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      "I spend a lot of time on client locations and systems, and very few offer me the option to use my own laptop on their network."

      Fair enough, although it cost us bugger all to provide a separate free WiFi on site for visitors. However, have you priced up mobile broadband recently. Unless you spend a lot of time on site watching videos, your usage will be fairly light and so quite cheap. Also, if you spend a lot of time on client locations, you probably spend a fair amount of time travelling, too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I spend most of my professional time in countries other than my own. Mobile Broadband roaming prices are still quite extortionate in Europe. Especially if you forget to switch roaming off again after checking your email.

      2. jason 7

        To be honest data plans are largely over the top. I use my 500MB data plan for purely on the go usage for email and a tiny bit of info browsing when I'm not near wi-fi. I don't use it for video/music etc. The average monthly use is around 50MB.

  16. Michael Habel Silver badge

    So am I the only guy that actaully likes the old homepage?

    enough so that I expressly ask for it in about:config "http://www.google.com/firefox?client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official" ?!

    1. TwistUrCapBack

      Re: So am I the only guy that actaully likes the old homepage?

      "So am I the only guy that actaully likes the old homepage? "

      No - you're not .. Read above posts ..

  17. DJSigma

    The most annoying thing about this is not that Opera 12.17 no longer works with Google's sites. That I could understand. It's that Google are browser sniffing and saying "nope, can't use that anymore". If you spoof the user agent to make it seem like you're using Firefox 31, Google's sites work absolutely fine in Opera 12.17 again.

    Here's how to do that: -

    1. Fire up Opera and go to your local version of Google's homepage.

    2. Press F12, choose "Edit site preferences..." and hit OK to close that screen. Exit Opera.

    3. Browse to this folder: -

    C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Roaming\Opera

    4. Open override.ini in Notepad.

    5. Look for the block of code that relates to your local version of Google's site and add this line to the end of it: -

    User Prefs|Custom User-Agent=Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 5.1; rv:31.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/31.0

    6. Save the file.

    That will get you the current version of Google's homepage back and everything will work fine.

  18. MJI Silver badge

    Fix the searches please

    I type in a number and a piece of text and the search gives me everything for the text and ignores the number.

    As I was looking for pictures of a unique railway carriage the running number is essential.

    Yahoo is similarly broken as well.

    Images - well one of them is a dress!

  19. Dominion

    What??

    I enter a search phrase, Google renders some results. How hard can that be to achieve in a browser? Any browser for that matter!

  20. Truth4u

    Why stop there

    When they could easily write a page that would throw nasty insults at anyone using old software? They can take the worst most vile comments off their youtube property and use them.

  21. Jess

    Brilliant.

    I just installed quick user agent switch. (I just typed 'Netsurf' for the fake agent) Now google search and maps work much better.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    User agent.

    I had to fudge around with that a while ago, while using Maxthon. Since it rendered with IE, all the bugs and other nasties tried to find iexplore.exe on the memory and failed, which made it a very good tabbed browser, even before Chrome was invented.

    It could even run Windows Update happily. Didn't touch useragent ever since.

  23. Topaq

    Corporates lag behind, footmen suffer

    Why punish punters who have no say to which browser their companies choose to install as a "safe" option. No, I don't think IE8 is that either, so please tell my Corporate IT that instead of blocking my access to modern search or email, Google (and Yahoo! as well btw). I've tried already

  24. GA-1

    Google Badgering

    Wow, what jerks. I have always marveled at Google's products and high minded attitude, but discovering that Google have engaged in this petty act has really annoyed me. Do Brin and Page know about this, or was the decision to act in this badgering fashion made lower down in the company?

    I spent an hour or so trying to figure out if there was a fault on my computer when this older version of Google's page suddenly appeared. Google's little stunt has wasted my time. If Google are going to do this sort of thing, they should have at least placed a message on their page explaining themselves.

    My Mac computer is around 9 years old, and does not run the latest Mac operating system or browsers, so I have no choice at present but to use older browsers.

  25. j7n

    Google always had legacy versions

    I've noticed since about a year ago that Opera 8, MSIE6, Opera 12 when searched from the bar, and Chromium were served different search pages. I've actually preferred the version with the black header because it loaded a tiny bit faster, and seemed visually more coherent, less "flat". Actually the Opera 8 no-frills version, only returning the search results themselves, was the fastest and preferable if given the choice.

    The problem was that they were gradually removing functionality from the old page versions. The [Translate] link has been gone for a while from Opera 8. [More results from] disappeared later. The issue from their latest stunt now is that Image search in Opera 12 is completely broken. It is not possible to access the direct link to an image at all. Incidentally, Opera 8 image search is still working.

    I've overriden the user-agent for www.google.com, and this returned the modern white style. However, the arrows for the [Cached] menus are not correctly aligned and sometimes are not clickable.

    Google has almost arrogantly pulled a Microsoft here, artificially making their sites incompatible. I am afraid I will not be installing a Opera Presto onto computers anymore, with the exception for users who need a Mail Client. Tweaking user-agent is an unreliable short-term workaround. This move has influenced my decision way more than talk about abstract "security". Ironically, security was the whole reason why I had been preaching in favor for Opera, and often ridiculed for that. Win for Google and its cursed Chrome (I'll go with "Opera 25" in my case).

    I'm sure the main reason for the ever increasing, unnecessary JavaScript bloat on their sites is also to nudge users towards Chrome/V8.

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