Android’s WebView component caused a widespread crash last month that caused dozens of apps to stop working, including Gmail, Google Pay, and several banking apps. The severity of the bug, which took up to eight hours to post, prompted Google to make additional changes to prevent another disaster.
In a new status report, Google explains the causes of the crash and explains the planned WebView improvements. All apps that relied on WebView to open websites crashed due to a bug in the software’s experimentation and configuration technology. To fix the problem, Google had to use Google Play to release new versions of Chrome and WebView for automated and manual updates.
The key to the improvements to WebView is a new “safe mode” that allows the app to be restored to good condition in the event that the history repeats itself. Google also plans to speed up the updates to Chrome and WebView in the Play Store. In addition, Google promises to monitor the app and communicate better with users in the event of incidents. Alluding to the companies and developers who have likely been inundated with complaints about a crash they didn’t cause, Google says it will work with its partners to comment on the impact of incidents and the status of the solution.