Can a Chrome patch stop it from working like Firefox?

Last week, an update to the popular Firefox browser made all users using Mozilla’s browser suddenly unable to connect to the Internet . Specifically, they were updates 95.02 and 96 of this browser, updates that introduced some changes in compatibility with HTTP3 . The problems didn’t last long, but they did plunge millions of users around the world into chaos who, least of all they could imagine, was that the problem was going to be found in their own browser. From January 13th everything should work as normal, but could we see similar problems one day in Google Chrome?

It is rare to find an error of this magnitude today in any browser. Mainly because the updates, before reaching the users, go through two different versions, the Nightly, more unstable (and that can cause many problems), and the Beta, closer to the stable one that, except in specific cases, shouldn’t fail. If this problem with HTTP/3 had occurred, for example, in the Nightly branch, it would be normal. It might even have happened in the Beta version of the browser. But reaching the stable version is not that it is strange, it is that it is worrying.

Can a Chrome patch stop it from working like Firefox

Google usually has much more control over each of the versions of its Chrome browser. Its development is also based on different versions: the Canary (more unstable, and prone to failure) and the Beta (one step closer to the final version).

It is true that HTTP/3 (or QUIC, as we will know it in Chrome) is still in a fairly early stage of its development, and even Chrome is compatible with this protocol, it is still far from being activated by default in Google’s browser . And this was Mozilla’s mistake.

HTTP3 QUIC Chrome

But could it fail?

Google Chrome could crash like any other program

Although HTTP3/QUIC is far from being enabled by default in Google Chrome, there are still many functions and features that the browser could fail for. For example, without going any further, we can find that an update introduces a problem with the browser’s proxy, and blocks all connections. Or an error may appear when activating and using secure DNS protocols , such as DoH, which are gradually being standardized. Or, simply, a bug in one of the HTTP libraries could take the browser completely offline.

In any case, we remember that it is complicated for this to happen. It is difficult for it to happen in Firefox (although it has happened), but it is much more complicated for an error to occur in Google Chrome. As we indicated, Google usually has much more control over the updates it releases for your browser. And it is that a problem of the magnitude of Firefox could be catastrophic worldwide, since, as we know, Google’s browser covers a 63% market, while Mozilla’s only covers 3%.

In addition, thanks to telemetry, Google could modify any parameter remotely (similar to how Mozilla has done with Firefox). This way the problem would be solved automatically and the impact would be the least possible.