A lot of people rely on the Web these days not just to say informed or connected but also to work. Web browsers have become critical pieces of software on any platform, so when those break, the Internet is filled with complaints and demands for explanations. That is what transpired over the weekend when Google Chrome on Windows 10 started crashing left and right. Google did quickly push out a fix and its solution is just as strange as the bug it fixes.
No one except Google knows what bug it was that sent Chrome suddenly crashing at random for a wide number of users. The behavior was partly blamed on one of Google’s silent updates, which always happens behind the scenes, while others were quick to point the finger towards extensions. It can be implied, however, from Google’s own fix that it was related to its Origin Trials experiments.
Origin Trials is what Google calls its system for testing out experimental features on a piecemeal basis. The key thing about it, however, is that it should be an opt-in thing rather than something that gets applied behind the scenes. As one affected user who traced the bug to this system, that was not the case here.
Google didn’t explicitly say what happened but it did hint at exactly that. In its Google Chrome Community post detailing the fix, it instructs Linux users to go into their profile’s Origin Trials directory and delete a specific file. Interestingly, this is also an acknowledgment that the issue also affected Linux users and not just Windows users as earlier reported.
The fix for Windows 10 users is actually simpler which, since Windows doesn’t make it easy to go into hidden directories, is completely understandable. Chrome users just need to keep the browser open for 5 minutes after quitting all instances of the browser and the fix will supposedly be downloaded and applied in the background.