The internet can be a wonderous wellspring of information with all the world's knowledge at your fingertips. However, it can also be a shady, aggravating place where some jerk on the other side of the world wants to trick you into thinking you won a free iPad. Oh, you pressed the back button? You "won" a PS4 instead. Chrome developers may soon stick it to that jerk with a tweak to keep pages from manipulating your back button.
There are few things on the internet more annoying than a site infested with redirect ads that won't let you go back. Google's Chrome developers refer to this trick as "history manipulation," which is accurate. When you land on one of these sites, the page inserts items into your browser's history. When you go back, you don't get to the last page—you just get another ad. Three changes to the open source Chromium code point to a possible light at the end of the tunnel.
Based on early discussions, the developers want to devise a way for Chrome to detect items that are inserted into the history by a website. Initially, Chrome will simply flag these items to send metrics back for further analysis. Later, the browser could skip the fake history pages automatically. If this feature makes it into the browser, it will initially hide behind a flag called #enable-skip-redirecting-entries-on-back-forward-ui. This change could cause problems in certain use cases, so the Chrome team is taking it slow.