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Google Chrome 100 update may break your website - but there's a fix

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Google Chrome (opens in new tab) is set to reach version 100 early next year but unfortunately this milestone will cause some websites to no longer work in the browser (opens in new tab).

Although there are no major changes or revolutionary new features currently planned for Chrome 100, the search giant has been aware for some time that this landmark release will likely lead to problems for some older websites (opens in new tab)

With Chrome 100 set release in March 2021, Google already began warning users and site owners about potential issues.

User Agent string

“In the first half of 2022, Chrome will reach a three-digit major version number: 100! When browsers first reached version 10 many eons ago, lots of issues were discovered with User-Agent parsing libraries as the major version number went from one digit to two," a blog post (opens in new tab) published in November 2021 first said.

"Now that we are approaching version 100 in both Chrome and Firefox, with Edge not far behind, we want to detect possible issues related to three-digit version number early, so we are ready when it becomes a reality.”

When Chrome's major version number goes from two digits to three, some older websites will no longer display correctly. Thankfully though, Google has a plan to avoid disrupting the web and the company has already begun contacting individual developers to warn them about the upcoming change.

Google Chrome extension

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In order for a website to know what browser and what version of it you're currently using, the site will check the User Agent string which is essentially a line of text that your browser attaches to every web connection it makes.

Here is an example of a User Agent string: “Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/96.0.4664.110 Safari/537.36”. At the end, you can see “Chrome/96.0.4664.110” which means we're running Chrome version 96. 

While Google has considered forcing the major version number to the minor version position and staying at 99 so “Chrome/100” would instead be “Chrome/99.100”, this is only a backup plan. Instead, the search giant has begun contacting individual developers to let them know about this issue before Chrome 100 is released. Google has also added a new flag (opens in new tab) to Chrome (#force-major-version-to-100) which developers can use to see whether or not their sites will be affected.

Although moving to version 100 has the potential to disrupt a lot of older sites, Google and Mozilla are working hard to address the issue before the rollouts of version 100 of both Chrome and Firefox (opens in new tab) next year .

Via 9To5Google (opens in new tab)

Anthony Spadafora
Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.