A mystery bug is causing Google Chrome extensions to suddenly fail

Google Chrome browser app on iPhone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A bug in the Chromium browser engine has been causing extensions to stop working for users of Google Chrome.

Jói Sigurdsson, founder and CEO of CrankWheel Screen Sharing, was one of the first to identify this issue. He says it is affecting around 3% to 5% of users of certain extensions.

Sigurdsson’s entry in the Chromium bug report reads: “Event handlers registered via chrome.browserAction.onClicked.addListener should get dispatched to when the browser action button/icon is clicked by the user.”

For users affected by the glitch, it means that buttons in certain extensions become unresponsive.

Google Chrome: bugs, glitches and errors

CrankWheel Screen Sharing users first started to notify the company of the bug on 10 April 2022. It's unclear when it first became a problem, but it appears the bug may have been introduced with Chrome 100. 

The company’s initial response was to disable and re-enable the extension, which seemed to work at first. However, when the same error happened on Sigurdsson’s own computer, he was able to submit screen recordings and further information to Chromium.

Other extensions that use the same browserAction API include a couple of password managers - Norton Password Manager and LastPass - and a pair of Google’s own creations: the Picture in Picture extension and Google Mail Checker. Sigurdsson believes these could also be subject to the problematic glitch. 

The Iceland-based company posted a job on Upwork last week, offering $35-$150 per hour for two days initially, in the hope that a “Chromium C++ expert [can] dig into the bug and hopefully solve it.” 

Also up for grabs are a pair of $4,000 bounties. One is for being able to consistently replicate the issue, which occurs on “at least macOS and Windows” and another for an actual fix.

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Craig Hale

With several years’ experience freelancing in tech and automotive circles, Craig’s specific interests lie in technology that is designed to better our lives, including AI and ML, productivity aids, and smart fitness. He is also passionate about cars and the decarbonisation of personal transportation. As an avid bargain-hunter, you can be sure that any deal Craig finds is top value!