Google Accidentally Breaks Chrome With an Experimental Update

's experimental power-saving feature dubbed ‘WebContents Occlusion', was silently rolled out to many users around the world and was developed to improve the overall browsing experience but it ended up burning millions of dollars.

Even though the average home user was not affected, thousands of enterprise users were left without service. Businesses running virtual machines found their tabs going blank randomly. This error is known as the “White Screen of Death” (WSOD).

The problem first surfaced on 13th November and affected the common Chrome enterprise installation called ‘Terminal Server Setup'.

Many businesses and system administrators complained that thousands of employees could not access the internet as the active tab remained blank. The worst part is, they could not shift to other browsers either due to administration problems.

Complaints From Businesses Worldwide

As mentioned, many businesses around the world were massively affected. An administrator from Costco said:

This has had a huge impact on all our Call Center agents. We are not being able to chat with our members. We spent the last day and a half trying to figure this out.

Another Terminal server setup user said:

Our organization with multiple large retail brands had 1000 call center agents and many IT people affected for 2 days. This had a very large financial impact.

Similarly, another system administrator wrote:

Like many others, this has had a significant impact on our organization with our entire Operations. Over 500 employees working in an RDS environment with Chrome as the primary browser.

Many administrators complained that they lost a day and half of the work which affected their whole month's revenue. Smaller businesses were also majorly affected.

Anyhow, Google has now rolled back the WebContents Occlusion feature, and its software engineer David Bienvenu has advised all the affected users to and relaunch the browser.

In case you are still facing the issue go to chrome://flags and disable the following:

  • chrome://flags/#web-contents-occlusion
  • chrome://flags/#calculate-native-win-occlusion.
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