Saturday, August 14, 2010

Some Chrome Browser Bugs

These bugs are caused by Chrome setting up a dependency on Microsoft third-party software. Chrome shares the IE browser's "Internet Properties" dialog box.

In Chrome, click the wrench icon then Options -> Under the hood -> Change Proxy Settings. The IE Internet Options dialog box displays. [Hard to believe.]

Note: The Mozilla FireFox browser avoids this dependency.

  • Up to date Chrome 5.0.375.126
  • Up to date IE: 8.0.7600
  • Up to date FireFox: 3.6.8
  • Up to date Windows Pro 7
Bug #1 (security):
A malicious exploit specifically targeted at IE browsers that changes internet option parameters will also adversely affect Chrome's shared internet option parameters. For example: 1) Reducing browsing security levels, 2) Allowing active content to run, 3) Changing how the browser connects to the internet.

Countering these exploits against IE and Chrome may require an IE patch or update.

Bug #2 (security):
IE users in multiuser computer situations (cafes, classrooms, libraries) can reduce the browsing security level of Chrome users and vice-versa.

Bug #3 (security):
Chrome browsers running on Windows computers do not support SSL3.0/TLS1.x encryption.

Bug #4 (security and usability):
A Chrome user can try to change features that Chrome does not support in the internet parameters dialog box. For example: IE InPrivate browsing, SSL3.0, TLS1.x.

A user connecting with Chrome to a site requiring SSL3.0 will get an error message even though SSL3.0 is selected in Chrome.

Bug #5 (security and usability):
Under the internet properties "Advanced" tab there are several features marked with asterisks (*). A label notes that "* Takes effect after you restart Internet Explorer".

Question: Does a Chrome user who changes one or more * features need to open and close an IE browser session to activate the options in Chrome? From the Chrome GUI the required user behavior is completely unclear.

Bug #6 (security and usability)
: Chrome displays some duplicate parameters that are separately and inconsistently configurable. These duplicate parameters include configuring: 1) a start page, 2) auto-complete forms and passwords features, 3) a default browser.
  • Start page: You can set duplicate home page parameters that are different. Set the first value in Internet Properties -> General Tab -> Home page. Then set a different home page here: Options -> Basics -> Home page. Chrome will use the value you set here: Options -> Basics -> Home page, ignoring the home page value you set under internet properties. However, the value you set from Chrome under internet properties -> Home page will change the startup page for any IE users on that computer.
  • Auto-complete forms and passwords: You can set this feature inconsistently in two places. Set the first value under Internet Properties -> Content -> AutoComplete -> Forms and User Names and Passwords on Forms. Then set inconsistent values in the duplicate fields here: Options -> Personal Stuff -> Passwords and Form Autofill. Chrome will use the values you set here: Options -> Personal Stuff -> Passwords and Form Autofill, ignoring the values you set under internet properties. However, the values you set from Chrome under internet properties -> Content -> AutoComplete will take effect for IE users on the same computer.
  • Default browser: I have FireFox as my default browser. In Chrome, if I go to Basics -> Default browser it says: "Google Chrome is not currently your default browser. Make Google Chrome my default browser." In Chrome, if I go to Options -> Under the hood -> Change Proxy Settings -> Internet Properties -> Programs -> Default web browser it says: "Internet Explorer is not currently the default browser. Make default."
In my opinion, the above set of problems should be assigned the following bug severity levels:
  • Security: between medium and high
  • Usability: critical

Sunday, August 8, 2010

One Trivial, One Small, And One Large Chrome Browser Bug

A couple of days ago, I downloaded Chrome.

Bug #1 (trivial bug):

I downloaded Chrome from a Google US download page, and ran the setup file expecting the Chrome GUI to be in English. Instead, the Chrome GUI was localized by my IP address so the GUI language was non-English.

This wouldn't be a bug if changing the Chrome locale settings was user friendly. It took me a few minutes, in a foreign language, to find the language settings under this non-intuitive path: Options -> Under the Hood -> Web Content -> Change font and language settings.

The three Chrome option tab labels 1) "Basics", 2) "Personal Stuff", and 3) "Under the Hood" are not self-descriptive. Having tab labels that are not self-descriptive is a bug. In my opinion, locale settings could arguably be placed under any of those tabs.

I would make these changes:

  • Add a locale picker to the Chrome download page, or to a screen that displays the first time the Chrome browser is launched.
  • Move the "Translate" and "Language" settings from the "Under the Hood" tab to a tab called "On the Road" to make it easier for users to find those settings and to expand the car metaphor.
Bug #2 (small bug):

By default, Chrome checks spelling in user name fields. In my opinion, most user names will not exist in a spell-checker dictionary - so the spell checker will keep making errors.

For Google account users, Google could add a list of those user names to the Chrome spell-check dictionary which it hasn't.

In my opinion, Chrome should not spell-check user name fields at all. Consider this scenario: A user goes to a login screen (e.g. Google accounts), enters a user name and password, and clicks "Sign in".

Would any product developer consider displaying user name suggestions as an error message on a failed login screen? I doubt it, but that's what Chrome does now when a user enters a value in a user name field that is not in the Chrome spell-check dictionary.

Bug #3 (large bug):

If you click Options -> Under the Hood -> Change Proxy Settings a dialog box called "Internet Properties" is displayed. This dialog box contains dozens of important parameters other than for changing proxy settings which are located under the "Connections" tab.

The large bug is that as far as I can tell there is no way to display the "Internet Properties" dialog box to expose all of its important parameters other than to click: Under the Hood -> Change Proxy Settings.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

More Google Image Search bugs

Bug #1 (trivial bug):

The bug is that for image searches the "Number of results to display per page" parameter has no effect.

Try this...

From a Google Image Search page (new or basic view), click Search Settings, change the number of results to display per page (10 to 100), then save your preferences. Regardless of the value you select, when you run a new search (e.g. snow) Google Image search displays the same number of results.

Note: Google Web and Google News search do not have this bug.

Bug #2 (medium bug):

The bug is that using the new Image Search view, a user cannot print all of the image results.

Try this...

From a Google Image Search page (new view), run an image search, then use the page down button to display all of the 20+ subpages. When you are sure all images display, go to File -> Print Preview. Try various print drivers, different scale values, and both portrait and landscape orientations.

Even when I go to landscape with 10% scale, only a fraction of the image results can be printed.

Note: Google Web, Google News, and Google Images search (basic view) do not have this bug.