Google announced today that it will support Chrome on Windows XP until April 2015, a year longer than Microsoft expects to support the aging operating system.

The search giant isn't just feeling nostalgic. The move is intended to avoid browser-based vulnerabilities, since "unpatched browser bugs are often used by malware to infect computers," Mark Larson, director of engineering and superintendent of public safety for Google Chrome, wrote in a blog post.

Google promised to provide regular, automatic updates and security patches until at least April 2015.

The company said that a "good chunk" of Chrome users are still on XP, while "many organizations still run dozens or even hundreds of applications on XP and may have trouble migrating."

According to Sept. 2013 stats from Net Applications, approximately 31.42 percent of global Internet users are still using Windows XP.

In 2002, Microsoft launched its Support Lifecycle policy, allowing 10 years of combined mainstream and extended support for Microsoft Business and Developer products, including Windows operating systems. To that end, Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003 will lose that support on April 8, 2014. Redmond gave users a one-year warning in April, pointing out that it takes an average company 18 to 32 months to reach full deployment of a new OS.

What's the big deal? After support ends, Microsoft will no longer be pushing out updates for the OS. On the one hand, your computer will no longer restart at random intervals to install new software, but it also means that Microsoft will not fix any vulnerabilities that might crop up, allowing easier access for scammers.

"If you're an IT administrator and your employees depend on web applications built for older browsers, you can use Legacy Browser Support to set Chrome as the primary browser and limit the usage of the unsupported, legacy browser to only specific web apps," Google's Larson wrote.

PC Magazine