The infamous Y2K bug threatened to disrupt digital communications and the Internet at the turn of the situation. Google is conducting tests to check if version 100 of Chrome browser could have a similar cyber doomsday effect.
Google chrome is currently on version 94. It is quite likely that version 100 of the popular web browser might break the Internet or confuse websites that are used to version numbers of just two digits. Google is quietly running tests to ascertain the same.
A three-digit User Agent identification number for Chrome and Firefox is inevitable in the future:
A web browser has a version. Mozilla Firefox is currently on v92, Google Chrome is on v94. Both these browsers, as well as Microsoft Edge, will soon bear a version number that is higher than 100.
Every browser has a User Agent Identification, which correlates with the version of the same. A User Agent is a string of letters and numbers that a web browser sends to a website. The intention is to let the site know what browser the visitor is using, its version, and integrated technology.
Google starts testing Chrome 100 user agent string https://t.co/MkNTNZkm9r
— Winaero (@winaero) September 23, 2021
As and when developers of a web browser update the same, they append the version number in the User Agent. A little old now, but the User Agent for Google Chrome version 93 is:
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/93.0.4577.82 Safari/537.36
The current version of Google Chrome is 94, and hence, the User Agent reads:
“Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/94.0.4606.54 Safari/537.36
A User Agent often helps website developers accommodate a browser’s “special” traits, behavior, or even add special, browser-specific functions.
It is inevitable that the major web browsers will soon have a version number that goes into three digits. Chrome could hit v100 as early as March 2022.
Google testing if a three-digit User Agent identification number could ‘break the Internet?
Google Chrome’s version number is still in two digits. Hence, websites and the Internet in general, are working fine. However, it is possible that an unfamiliar, three-digit version number, and its corresponding User Agent, could cause trouble.
— Mark (@_therealmark_) September 23, 2021
Chrome engineers are reportedly investigating whether any site or its functionality, breaks if the User Agent for the browser contains version 100. Google Chrome engineer Mike Taylor explains in a bug post:
“To avoid any UA string breakage when Chrome ships v100, we should add a flag to chrome://flags which flips the current major version to 100 in the User-Agent string as well as navigator.userAgent”
Chrome 96+ allows testing of Chrome's 100 New User agent (don't do it) pic.twitter.com/Lm06wJDAzw
— CK's Technology News (@CKsTechNews) September 23, 2021
Incidentally, Mozilla conducted a very similar test back in August 2021. The company changed the User Agent of Firefox browser to contain “Firefox/100.0”
According to Mozilla, the Internet and the majority of websites seemed OK with the User Agent crossing 100. Still, it would be wise for developers to ensure their creations can understand a triple-digit User Agent.