Google's Chrome browser was updated yesterday to version 17.0.963.78 on Windows, Macs and Linux. This latest update is to Chrome only, it does not include an updated copy of Flash, which remains at version 188.8.131.52 on Windows and Linux and 184.108.40.206 on OS X.
According to Google, yesterdays update fixed a single security problem and "issues with Flash games and videos".
This Chrome refresh came on the heels of the prior update, version 17.0.963.66 which was issued just two days earlier.
And that update was an emergency fix for version 17.0.963.65 that had been released just two days before.
When Google detected a problem with version 17.0.963.65, they halted its distribution. Their delay in telling anyone about this, is what prompted my previous blog about being stuck on version 17.0.963.56.
The great thing about this stream of updates is that Chrome users didn't need to know or care, because Chrome does such a great job of silently updating itself.
I don't necessarily want all of my software constantly and silently self-updating, but for a web browser I think it is the right approach.
That Chrome includes Flash in its self-updating umbrella, is icing on the cake.
A Windows user with Flash running inside both Firefox and Internet Explorer reminds me of the mythological figure Sisyphus, constantly pushing that boulder uphill. Personally, I've got better things to do than manually update Flash time and time again. When I need Flash, I use Chrome.
A fan of another browser may claim that Chrome is overly buggy. Having been a developer, I expect bugs.
The Watergate scandal showed that, in politics, it's not the crime, it's the cover-up. In software, it's not the bugs, its how you deal with them.
Some companies deny their bugs or take forever to fix them. Not Google. This steady stream of Chrome releases shows they are on the job, paying attention and fixing things quickly.
Very quickly. The security problem that was fixed yesterday in Chrome version 17.0.963.78 came to Google's attention less than 24 hours earlier.
I am also encouraged by reports that Google paid $60,000 for the details of the security flaw. This can only encourage more bug reports in the future.
I was impacted by the just-fixed Flash problem.
A remotely controlled Windows 7 computer seemed to go mute when viewed from an XP machine on the same LAN. I often use Flash on assorted web pages to play audio, and the remote control software dutifully sends the audio from the remote Windows 7 machine to the computer in front of me.
But, at some point this broke. After some tinkering, the problem was narrowed down to Flash based audio running in Chrome. Audio from other sources worked fine. Interestingly, when Chrome was configured to use Firefox's copy of Flash rather than its own embedded copy, the audio worked fine.
I spent a non-trivial amount of time debugging this. Just hours after reporting the gory details of the problem, there was a new version of Chrome with a fix. It makes an impression.
Update: March 11, 2012: And the hits keep coming. While writing this, Google was rolling out yet another update to Chrome (version 17.0.963.79) to fix, among other things, another security flaw for which they paid out $60,000. And, as before, the fix for the security flaw was issued less than 24 hours after Google learned of it.