Google has been pushing some nifty updates for Chrome, but recently, a tiny experiment conducted by the internet giant created some major troubles.
The company broke the stable version of the browser on thousands of machines, raising concerns for several businesses and their IT admins.
Here's all you need to know about it.
Silent experiment rendered Chrome unresponsive
Earlier this week, Google's silent experimental change rendered Chrome unresponsive on virtual machine environments like Citrix.
The bug displayed nothing but a white screen on open Chrome tabs, effectively blocking the access of thousands of business users and keeping them from surfing on the internet.
As the change was made silently, IT admins responsible for approving updates were also confused about what had happened.
Then, Google revealed what it had done
Following a flurry of complaints, Google issued a statement confirming that it was its own experimental change that led to this problem.
The company said it had enabled a flag for a feature that suspended Chrome tabs when one moved other apps on top of them and reduced the resource usage when the browser isn't in use.
However, it didn't work as expected.
Apparently, Google tested this feature for months
"The experiment has been on in beta for ~5 months," Google engineer David Bienvenu said, adding that it was enabled for about 1% of stable users for a month (before wider stable release) but no issues were reported in that case.
Now, the issue has been fixed
Either way, the company patched the issues immediately after the complaints started popping up.
It rolled back the changes on Thursday, making sure that businesses and their users were able to access Chrome on their machines.
"I'll rollback the launch of this experiment and try to figure out how to deal with Citrix," Bienvenu said in his statement.
Still, businesses remain annoyed with Google
While the issue has been fixed, IT admins have criticized Google for the shady practice of rolling out changes without informing in any way.
"This has had a huge impact for all our Call Center agents and not being able to chat with our members," one admin said, adding that they had to spend a day and half to figure out what had happened.