Chrome experiment crashes browser tabs2019-11-15 18:15 by Daniela
A Google Chrome experiment has resulted in thousands of Chrome users being unable to use their browsers for the past two days, reports ZDNet. Business users accessing Chrome through virtual machine environments like Citrix kept seeing white screens on open Chrome tabs, blocking access to the browser and leaving it totally unresponsive. It left many IT admins confused over the problem, as businesses typically manage and control Chrome updates.
Earlier this week Google decided to silently roll out an experimental change to the Chrome browser. Usually, this isn't an issue for business users as Google allows IT admins to use their own on-premise tools and set Chrome policies for corporate-managed computers. However, this change was applied to those computers anyway, and Google apparently decided not to tell anyone it was happening.
The experimental feature was designed to reduce resource usage in Chrome by suspending tabs if a user moved other application windows to the foreground, so treating the Chrome tab as a background task. What happened in these environments was that the tab was unloaded instead of being suspended, hence the White Screen of Death.
"The experiment / flag has been on in beta for ~5 months," explained David Bienvenu, a software engineer at Google, in a Chromium bug thread. "It was turned on for stable (e.g., m77, m78) via an experiment that was pushed to released Chrome Tuesday morning. Prior to that, it had been on for about one percent of M77 and M78 users for a month with no reports of issues, unfortunately."
Google has already fixed the issue by rolling back the experiment and pushing a new Chrome configuration file to users.
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