Google is aiming to eradicate outdated web browsers by showing some Google visitors old versions of its search page.

Hundreds of Google users complained over the weekend that they were seeing 2013 versions of Google’s web and image search homepages.

The issue appeared to be most prevalent among those using version 5.1 of Apple’s Safari web browser and version 12 of the Opera web browser.

The 2013 version of Google’s website does not have many of the features that internet users have become accustomed to over the last year.

Affected users tried clearing their cookies and disabling add-ons and extensions, but their efforts came to no avail.

A Google engineer posted a message on a forum where many of the complaints were being made explaining that the changes were not the result of a bug, adding that they had been introduced to persuade people to update their browsers.

"It's working as intended," said the Googler called "nealem".

She added: "We're continually making improvements to Search, so we can only provide limited support for some outdated browsers."

Nealem also provided a link to the "What Browser" site which tells people which version they are using and provides links to the latest versions.

Some users complained that they did not want to upgrade their browsers because the newer versions did not carry the features they wanted.

Others said Google’s decision was “heavy-handed” and “ridiculous”.

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