Google Hits Windows AV Tools – Will Reduce Chrome Crashes by Blocking Code Injection

Google Chrome will stop third party software from injecting code in the browser to improve performance and reduce crashes on Windows. The development team announced its plans to block outside applications – yep, legitimate AV products included – from running code within the browser on Windows operating system.

“Roughly two-thirds of Windows Chrome users have other applications on their machines that interact with Chrome, such as accessibility or antivirus software,” Chris Hamilton of Chrome stability team said (emphasis is ours).

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“In the past, this software needed to inject code in Chrome in order to function properly; unfortunately, users with software that injects code into Windows Chrome are 15 per cent more likely to experience crashes.

The release of Chrome 68 in July next year will introduce these new rules that will hopefully reduce the frequency of crashes experienced by Windows users. Blaming the crashes on the outside apps, the team wrote that the stability takes a hit when the browser allows other apps to execute code that may be buggy or incompatible. The team added that instead of code injection, application can use Native Messaging API calls or Chrome extensions to add their functionality to the browser without the browser compromising on stability.

The focus here seems to be on antivirus products as there will be a few exceptions to this block (read: Microsoft). AV products notably reduce performance and sometimes also introduce security flaws, which is something that the future Chrome will be able to fight against.

“While most software that injects code into Chrome will be affected by these changes, there are some exceptions,” Hamilton said. “Microsoft-signed code, accessibility software, and IME software will not be affected.”

Multi-phase plan to reduce Chrome crashes on Windows

Google has said that the blocking code injection will be done in multiple stages. First, with Chrome 66, the browser will begin displaying warnings to users in April after a crash informing them that not the browser but a third party software is responsible for it. It will guide the user to remove the software or update it.

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Following this, Chrome 68 will begin the blocking process in July, 2018. However, if blocking the code injection “prevents Chrome from starting, Chrome will restart and allow the injection, but also show a warning that guides the user to remove the software.”

The third and final phase begins in January, 2019 when Chrome 72 will remove even this “accommodation” and simply block code injection without any compromises. Google said that “fewer crashes means more happy users” and the company is ready to push others to make some changes “to make Chrome better for everyone.”

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