The first version of Google Chrome made its first public appearance on September 2, 2008, initially only on Window. Today it is the most used browser in the world and after about 13 years of honorable service it is about to reach its hundredth version. However, it seems that the release will cause some websites to no longer work , and Google has begun to study and test various solutions.
The problem is related to the User Agent. But what is the User Agent? In general, if a website needs to know which browser the user is using and how up-to-date it is, the so-called User Agent is checked. This is a fragment of text, a string, that your browser attaches to each request it makes, allowing the site to know the browser in use.
The User Agent released by Chrome is something like: Mozilla / 5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit / 537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome / 96.0.4664.45 Safari / 537.36 .
What does the User Agent and the new version of Google Chorme have to do with it?
Towards the end of the User Agent something easily recognizable catches the eye, namely "Chrome / 96.0.4664.45". This part of the string provides the browser-specific version number. Normally, however, what interests web platforms most is knowing the main version number, which in the example is "96", which is what generally represents the insertion of new features and therefore the website itself is interested in knowing if the browser in use supports a specific feature that it wants to use or not.
According to Chromium Bug Tracker , the websites known to be affected are mainly those developed with Duda, a web design kit. These websites all use the same code to check which version of Chrome you are using. Notably, some developers have chosen to only read the first two digits after “Chrome /” statically instead of reading to the point. This means that "Chrome / 99" would be 10 and "Chrome / 100" would be "10" .
But it's not just about enabling some features or not. In fact, Duda automatically blocks any version of Chrome below version 40 , which was released way back in 2015. This means that any browser version after Chrome 99 would be perceived as version 10 and therefore blocked .
How will Google Chrome solve this problem?
One of the proposals is to set the first digit at 99 and increase the second set of digits. So instead of including something like “Chrome / 100.0.1234.56”, it would include “Chrome / 99.100.1234.56”.
To this end, a new flag has been added to chrome: // flags that will allow web developers to check whether or not various sites would be affected by this change in the location of the major version number of Chrome. The flag is described as: “Blocks the major version of Chrome in the User-Agent string at 99 and forces the major version number to the minor version location. This flag is a backup plan for unexpected M100 outages. ”.
However, as the flag itself notes, this solution is considered a "backup plan". The current solution is for Google to contact individual developers about the impending issue with Chrome 100 . So far, the company has actually had some luck with this effort, managing to contact a few developers and fix the problem individually.