Chrome 100 Beta marks the beginning of the end for user agent strings

Chrome 100 Beta marks the beginning of the end for user agent strings

Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are both rapidly approaching version 100, which has the potential to break some websites that incorrectly check for the browser version. Both browsers have been working on possible solutions, and now Chrome 100 has arrived in the Beta Channel with changes to version reporting and other new features.

Google wrote in a Chromium blog post, “Chromium 100 will be the last version to support an unreduced User-Agent string by default (as well as the related navigator.userAgent, navigator.appVersion, and navigator.platform DOM APIs). The origin trial that allowed sites to test the fully reduced User-Agent will end on April 19, 2022. After that date, the User-Agent String will be gradually reduced.”

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The user agent string has been a core component of web browsers for decades, allowing sites to change their behavior based on the browser, version of the browser, CPU architecture, and other data. Browsers have slowly started to limit the information available in the user agent string (e.g. the user agent strings on all iPhones doesn’t include the iPhone model), because they can be easily used for fingerprinting. Google suggests using the newer User Agent Client Hints API instead, which is more secure and is less likely to break websites than user agent strings.

Chrome Beta 100 also includes a few other new features. There’s a new Multi-Screen Window Placement API on desktop platforms, which allows sites to detect displays connected to your computer and place different windows on specific screens. There are also Origin Trials (basically opt-in betas for web features) for the Digital Goods API and a few new JavaScript features.

You can try out Chrome Beta on desktop platforms by downloading it from Google’s website. Chrome Beta is also available for Android devices through the Google Play Store, linked below. On all platforms, Chrome Beta can run alongside other versions of Chrome without breaking anything.

Chrome Beta
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free

Source: Chromium Blog

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Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer. Check out what he's up to at corbin.io.

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