Websites around the world could soon be blocked when a major Google update rolls out in the coming weeks. Chrome 100 is the latest release from the internet giant, but when it launches next month it could wreak havoc on the internet.
This impending digital disaster is all about Chrome’s new identity and how websites interact with this popular piece of software. Most online sites are configured to be viewed on a browser with a two-digit name – for example, Google’s current Chrome is called 98.
However, when things jump into triple digits in the coming weeks, it could have huge implications, especially if the developers haven’t prepared for this minor but dramatic change.
This problem is a lot like the millennium bug that caused a lot of concern in 1999, when some experts feared that the year 2000 would crash PCs around the world.
Although this disaster never came true, there were previous problems with web software and their names.
When browsers first hit version 10 just over 12 years ago, many problems were discovered with the User-Agent parsing libraries, as the major version number jumped from one digit together. This caused some sites to display errors and become completely invisible to the public.
User-Agent analysis libraries help the browser know what devices are being used and ensure that everything is compatible.
It’s unclear how bad things could get next month, but the Mozilla team recently posted a message online explaining their concerns.
“Major version 100 is a big milestone for Chrome and Firefox. It also has the potential to crash websites as we move from a two-digit version number to a three-digit version number,” said the Mozilla team.
Thankfully, it looks like Google and companies like Mozilla are taking the issues seriously and working on ways to limit the damage.
According to Mozilla, Firefox and Chrome conducted experiments to help detect possible website crashes. These tests will continue until the release of version 100.
There are also backup mitigation strategies in place, in case version 100 causes more damage to websites than expected.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens in March, but expect some turbulence during your usual web browsing sessions.