Last month, a WebView bug became the biggest story in Android after users reported app crashes across all sorts of devices. Though a temporary solution was quickly discovered, a permanent update wasn't issued until the following day, leaving phones in a buggy state overnight. In response to this incident, Google has published a complete list of upcoming improvements it plans to implement to help ensure these types of crashes never happen again.
The causes of Android's app crashes are laid out in full in a new report posted on the Workspace status dashboard. Any software using WebView to retrieve online content was affected by a bug found in the app's experiment and configuration technology. New versions of both Chrome and WebView had to be pushed to users the next morning to fix the issue.
Accidentally crashing third-party apps because of a corrupted backend is a serious problem, so to that end, Google has announced plans to add several safeguards to how it modifies WebView. Perhaps most importantly, a "Safe Mode" for its infrastructure will be implemented, allowing the app to automatically revert to a previous state should this sort of bug ever appear again. Google also intends to accelerate updates for Chrome and WebView in the Play Store and changes to both software testing and its communication with Android users.
Based on this report, Google knows it screwed up, especially when you consider how many businesses rely on Android to stay stable and secure. It's good to see the company being open and honest about coming improvements to its update process. Hopefully, these steps make sure this type of incident never happens again.