back to article White Screen of Death: Admins up in arms after experimental Google emission borks Chrome

An experimental feature silently rolled out to the stable Chrome release on Tuesday caused chaos for IT admins this week after users complained of facing white, featureless tabs on Google's massively popular browser. The issue affected thousands of businesses' terminal servers, with multiple users on the same server …

  1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    It's only natural ..... an par for such courses

    Next stop after too big to fail is too big to succeed ..... as one morphs into being the target rather than wielding the weapon/ordnance.

  2. Blockchain commentard Silver badge
    Facepalm

    the Chromium Command Line --no-experiments should be there by default for those on a stable release. Palm, meet forehead.

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Trollface

      Google are an advertiser at heart, they would rather you opt out (Not before hiding it like for instances in a command line switch).

    2. YourNameHere

      What? Isn't this freaking obvious? Any professional IT/computer science person would know this. I am getting so tired of IT/Computer Science engineers and their science projects.... Its been one of those weeks.

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      No. A stable release should not have any experiments like this. No command line switch should be needed.

      1. G Mac
        FAIL

        Exactly. The Command Line switch should be --experiments to switch it on vs. default off.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Ah, I misunderstood. Sorry! Yes, that would be OK.

    4. vtcodger Silver badge

      It bit me!!!

      You knew (or should have known) it was a snake when you picked it up.

      https://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/TheLittleBoyAndTheRattlesnake-Cherokee.html

      1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

        Re: It bit me!!!

        They're all snakes.

  3. chivo243 Silver badge
    Angel

    Alfred E. Neuman

    Google's newest button pusher? What, me worry?

  4. Munchausen's proxy
    Big Brother

    Google is probably not your business partner

    Definitely not your friend.

  5. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Security?

    This bug seems to imply that there is some memory that is shared globally between different user IDs on one box. So the state of one session (modal window in this case) can affect another. Not good. One wonders what other sorts of things one user can 'peek at' that another might be running.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Secure Virtual Operations

      This bug seems to imply that there is some memory that is shared globally between different user IDs on one box. So the state of one session (modal window in this case) can affect another. Not good. One wonders what other sorts of things one user can 'peek at' that another might be running. .... Paul Hovnanian

      Not good, Paul, whenever excellent at rendering one an almighty advantage?

      That aint no bug, it is an Advanced Advancing ACTive Feature.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Secure Virtual Operations

        [Press 3 for English]

    2. jaywin

      Re: Security?

      More likely they're completely separate processes, but when receiving a Windows "desktop has been locked" message, they're not checking whether there's more than one desktop and it's actually their desktop that's affected. It would explain why *any* lock command locks all the sessions, and *any* unlock command unlocks them all.

      To be honest, I'm surprised that they haven't simply responded "that since only 5%* of our users use the product in shared situations like this, we're going to leave it like this", like they do with many of their other features that get removed under the auspices of "User Interface Clean Up".

      (* number made up since I have no idea what it actually is, but it's going to be under what seems to be the magic number of 15% which seems to be their threshold for not removing / fixing)

      1. Dal90

        Re: Security?

        ...not that I'm sure it makes them care, or perhaps on the other side it makes them more interested because it involves corporate intelligence gathering instead of consumer surveillance...

        Most of the folks affected by this would tend be large, risk-adverse corporations with hundreds and usually thousands of users impacted simultaneously.

        InfoSec policy that machines lock after five minutes inactivity? Every time someone in Citrix chatted with a co-worker, everyone sharing that server in a virtual desktop environment got white screened.

        Tiered deployments that roll out new versions of software over six weeks or more from the first alpha tests until the last production group gets it to catch issues and minimize impacts...and make sure at least part of the company can still do their basic work? Google laughs at you and remotely enables a feature.

        Chrome got their nose under the tent because (a) some non-trivial number of modern apps work better on it than IE and/or Edge; (b) it's easier to manage for shops already managing IE because it sucks in settings for internet browsing from Windows instead of an independent store like Firefox does.

      2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: What Security?

        To be honest, I'm surprised that they haven't simply responded "that since only 5%* of our users use the product in shared situations like this, we're going to leave it like this", .... jaywin

        That would be very generous of them, and allow a mighty percentage of certain users to further experiment in Google Environments .... for Search Engined Operations on AIMissions.

        Thus to extraordinarily render and extend search engines into future product placement machines.

        That's quite a simple quantum leap to make and take for all manner of novel almighty controls ... with nothing to stop you whenever in total command of overwhelming forces and sources ...... which everyone all brand spanking new enterprises enjoy and employ to expand and exploit extensively and expensively to great advantage. Such allows for continuity of worthy lead.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "they know we will keep using their software"

    Why ? There are other browsers. If Chrome starts shitting on your front lawn, throw it out and use something else.

    After testing its suitability, of course.

    With all the bullshit major corporations are pulling (looking at you as well, Microsoft), I foresee a future where it will be legally mandatory to ensure that existing production versions never change without full disclosure of what changes and what the impact might be, and failure to disclose or make updates optional is passable of fines up to and including, say, 4% of global, worldwide revenue before taxes.

    Nothing like hitting them in the wallet to get the shareholders' attention.

    1. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Full Disclosure

      That disclosure will be written by team of lawyers who have decades of experience writing patent applications and End User License Agreements. Which is to say they will be completely incomprehensible to any person using actual English (or other non-legalese language).

      As I have remarked before, Humpty Dumpty ("When I use a word...") is the patron saint of corp-speak.

  7. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    How much did you pay for this software again?

    Just wondering.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How much did you pay for this software again?

      Too much.

      It has cost us our privacy.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: How much did you pay for this software again?

      How is the price relevant? Just wondering.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How much did you pay for this software again?

        "How is the price relevant?"

        You get what you pay for.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: How much did you pay for this software again?

        It's free you say.

        Oh the entitlement...

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: How much did you pay for this software again?

      Nothing, but then I'm not using it. And when I hear of things like this I remember why.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What other code can Google silently run on your device

    Utter shite.

  9. ratfox Silver badge
    Devil

    User: "Do you see the impact you created for thousands of us without any warning or explanation?"

    Google employee: Thousands? Oh, not important then. It can wait until Monday.

  10. Do Not Fold Spindle Mutilate
    Joke

    So what are you going to do about it? Replace Chrome with Edge?????

    Would the experiment code gone over to Microsloth and pushed out with Edge?

    https://s270.photobucket.com/user/ltattrie/media/humour/EDGE%20browser.png.html

    1. MatthewSt

      Re: So what are you going to do about it? Replace Chrome with Edge?????

      As it was a config change rather than a code change, probably not

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: So what are you going to do about it? Replace Chrome with Edge?????

        OTOH the functionality was already in the code waiting to be activated. Is it also in Edge?

      2. Fungus Bob Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: So what are you going to do about it? Replace Chrome with Edge?????

        Nah, go back to good ol' IE6

  11. Lorribot

    Not just me then...

    "The issue now is that Google has gotten so big that they aren't concerned at all about what they have done because they know we will keep using their software"

    Ahh, someone else has notice this as well.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Stuart Halliday
    Facepalm

    Saw it in Brave too. Not surprising I know.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So 4 days after it was rolled out...it's reported on El Reg.

    Is that what passes for cutting edge journalism these days?

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      An ACID Test on Yet A.N.Other Light Fantastic Trip ..... War of the Words.

      So 4 days after it was rolled out...it's reported on El Reg. Is that what passes for cutting edge journalism these days? ..... Anonymous Coward

      It may be default for responsible fact checking journalism these days, AC, and it is always being tweaked and tested to ensure that fake news and right royal lies are outed and outlawed/exposed and detested.

      I suppose if you discover/uncover/cover an almighty explosive bombe, 4 days is as nothing in the greater schema of all things and fully to be expected.

      Here is one already printed and all ready and primed and planted on Sat 16 November at 17:20 for dropping whenever and wherever you like ..... the proverbial spanner in global works ...... so that's something you can certainly look forward to seeing and hearing more of in the near future ‽ .

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Firefox ESR FTW

    Wait, there are supposedly-competent large businesses out there who are using Google's Chrome spyware as their main supported browser? Did these people learn nothing from IE lock-in?

    If you want a browser that doesn't fuck around with things every other week for the hell of it, use Firefox ESR.

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