Google stops rollout of Chrome 79 for Android
Google has stopped the rollout of Chrome 79 for Android. The new stable version of the mobile web browser was released last week for supported desktop and mobile operating systems.
Shortly after the release of Chrome 79 for Android, users started to post on the official Chrome Help forum claiming that data available in Chrome 78 was not migrated to Chrome 79. According to Google, the new version rolled out to 50% of the entire userbase already.
Developers too started to report the issue on the Chromium bug tracking site stating that the update to Chrome 79 would clear localstorage and websql.
While Chrome works fine when it comes to opening websites in the browser, it is applications that rely on WebView functionality that are affected by the bug. Some applications that are available on Google Play use the component to provide access to a website or web application, and these use local storage options such as WebSQL or localStorage to save user data locally.
In other words: any data that has been stored locally by the app, e.g. personalization and customization of the application, files, or credentials, are not loaded anymore. It appears that Google migrated data but forgot to include several key locations during migration. Further analysis revealed that the data is still there but that it is not loaded anymore by the applications.
One developer stated that encrypted login information from users was no longer available and that users who could not remember their login information could not access their accounts anymore according to Zdnet.
From a user perspective, it looks as if everything has been reset and that led to a high number of negative reviews for said applications on the official Play Store. Problem is, the anger, which is understandable, is directed against the wrong targets. Developers are not responsible for the issue but they face the consequences.
Google engineers are still discussing a solution for the issue. While it is possible to migrate data, it could potentially overwrite new data created by users since the update was performed.
Google stopped the rollout of Chrome 79 for Android and there is little that users can do currently. Those already upgraded to Chrome 79 face the bug and need to wait for Google to fix it. Whether that will result in a restoration of the data remains to be seen.
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