"Catastrophe" forces Google to halt update to Android version of Chrome

"Catastrophe" forces Google to halt update to Android version of Chrome
According to 9to5Google, Google has had to apply the brakes to the Chrome 79 update for Android devices. This action was taken after a bug in the update caused the loss of data in certain Android apps. As a result, when users opened these apps, it was as though they were loading them for the first time. Saved data disappeared including login information. This happened because before Android 10, Chrome handled the rendering of web pages inside other apps, a feature called WebView on Android. As an example, if you use an app that is basically a "wrapped-up" web page, or a browser that doesn't have its own rendering engine, it is up to Chrome to supply that content on older builds of Android.

UPDATE: Google has fixed the bug and no app actually lost data, only the ability to access it. But that is all water under the bridge. Google released version 79 of the Chrome app for Android on Tuesday and besides the fix for WebView, Chrome will warn you when you sign into a website if your password was exposed in a data breach. You also can reorder your bookmarks by dragging them into place, or by going into options and tapping on Move Up or Move Down. Lastly, "The WebXR Device API enables immersive and inline VR experiences for the web."

In a statement about the bug, Google said, "The M79 update to Chrome and WebView on Android devices was suspended after detecting an issue in WebView where some users' app data was not visible within those apps. This app data was not lost and will be made visible in apps when we deliver an update this week. We apologize for any inconvenience."

Not surprisingly, Android users affected by the bug gave poor reviews to certain apps and developers reported the problem to the chromium bug tracker where they called it a "catastrophe" and a "major issue." One developer summed up the problem by saying, "If you don't fix it somehow ALL my users will lost (sic) all their data in the same moment they open the app." Another developer wrote, "Thank you for stopping the destructive update V79. We‘ve got also a cordova app which has lost all data. Our affected user are very upset and in the best case in contact with our support. Others just 1-star bombed our app, which I can also understand. An app which loses it‘s data just deserved it from users perspective." And yet another developer said that he was forced to shut down his app and remove it from the Play Store. He adds that his reputation is "dead."


By yesterday morning, Google had halted the update after it had been rolled out to 50% of devices. Google is "working on a solution that minimizes the data loss, and that can be rolled out safely," and this has been assigned the company's highest priority level. Earlier today, a chromium team member wrote that Google was looking at implementing one of two solutions:

a) continue the migration, moving the missed files into their new locations.
b) revert the change by moving migrated files to their old locations.

This bug hasn't affected major Android apps but is obviously a big deal. Once Google decides what it plans on doing, and when the update will resume, this story will be updated.

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