Google's specific statement regarding the reduced functionality is as follows: "Gmail will continue to function on Chrome Browser v53 and below through the end of the year".
"Gmail users that are still on Windows XP and Windows Vista are the most likely to be affected because v49 was the last released version which supported those operating systems", Google explained in the announcement.
So what does this mean for users still unfortunately stuck with either operating systems?
But compounded, Chrome isn't actually supported in Vista or XP after version 49 anyway, so the nags won't go away unless you actually ditch your aged machine altogether. The new Chrome version 56 also utilizes much less bandwidth while reloading pages, which will reduce the monthly data usage charges for users.
USERS OF obsolete versions of Windows will soon be forced to upgrade or face losing fast access to Gmail, as Google takes a hard line on security for its mail service. Never mind that anyone affected by this decision probably uses an operating system that officially died in 2014 or doesn't know Chrome automatically updates.
For Vista and XP users, if Gmail doesn't shift to its HTML version, then there's nothing to worry about. For people who will not be updating this year, they will still have access to Gmail. Installing third-party browsers to access your Gmail account could be possible, but there is no surety on the safety of your account. Vista and XP holdouts may turn to different email software such as Outlook Express or Mozilla's Thunderbird, which at present supports Windows XP SP3. More than that, there is also the huge security threats that these users will have to contend with, Engadget reports. But those with an alias already in use can use it with Thunderbird.
Chrome Browser v. 53 and below have been extremely vulnerable to security risks because Microsoft has discontinued the operating system support for both Vista and Windows XP. However, the post noted, some users who don't update their browser may be "redirected to the basic HTML version of Gmail as early as December 2017".