September 6, 2008

Let's All Play Crash That Browser - Google Chrome

Note: Typing nothing more than :% into the Chrome address bar will crash the entire browser.

Tom:   It's time once again to play America's favorite game show - Crash That Browser!

Tom:   With us today we have a new contestant - Google Chrome.  Is it ok if I just call you Chrome?  Alrighty then.  Tell us a bit about yourself, Chrome.

Chrome:   Why thanks, Tom.  Yes, I'm the new browser on the block.  And I combine minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.

Tom:   Well isn't that interesting.  So Chrome, are you actually in production now?

Chrome:   Well, of course I'm still in (BETA), but I am part of the Google family, and my cousin Gmail is still in Beta too (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean).

Tom:   Why are you winking at me?  Stop that!  Oh, I get it!  Anyway, so tell us something interesting about yourself.

Chrome:   Tom, one of my features is Crash Control.  Each tab is a separate process.  That way every tab you're using is run independently in the browser, so if one app crashes it won't take anything else down.

Tom:   Good for you!  Good for you!

Chrome:   And of course, we're Google, so our slogan is "Don't be evil (BETA)."

Tom:   Great, great.  So let's get to the game.  Chrome, how many keystrokes will it take to crash you?

Chrome:   Ha!  Tom, I don't think you can crash me in 32K keystrokes.  After all, I'm a fresh take on the browser, started from scratch and built on the best elements out there.

Tom:   Wow, that's quite a bold prediction.  How about if we start just a bit smaller?  How about two keystrokes?

Chrome:   Well, you can try, but as I said, my technology allows me to prevent one tab from crashing another.  Give it your best shot, Tommy boy.

Tom:   Ok, here goes...


Chrome:   Whoa!  Er, uhm, (cough) I think Google Chrome has crashed. Is the camera rolling (gasp)?  Can I just Restart now, Tom?  Please (gurgle)?

Tom:   Sorry, Chrome - that's all we have time for.  Bye, bye folks!  Thanks for playing along.  Join us again next week at this time and we'll all play Crash That Browser!


September 17, 2008 - an update:

So the good news is that as of build, this bug is fixed.
The bad news is - other side-effects.

Try this:
  1. Clear Chrome's browser history
  2. Type :% in the address field
  3. In the dropdown list that appears below the address field, select the ":%" entry, and press Enter.
On my system at least, I get a dialog box indicating that Chrome must "launch an external application" to handle this link. That's odd.  The dialog seems rather ominous.  Am I under attack?  Should I notify Homeland Security, or just hide under my chair?

And it is missing the name of the application which will be launched. Hmm... An application with no name!  Didn't America sing that song?  In the desert, you can remember your name...  

And clicking the Launch Application button doesn't actually do anything. Well, it seemed promising.  At least it didn't do anything evil... or did it?

Oh, Snap! Welcome to Google Chrome (BETA)

Care to play Crash That Browser?  If you know how to crash a browser (any browser), send me a note and I'll post it.