We reported a few days ago that the Microsoft Edge browser was currently having an issue with crashes when you type anything in the address bar when Google was set as your default search engine.
Are you seeing Edge crash when trying to type into the address bar? The team is looking into it! In the meantime, as a workaround, please turn off Search Suggestions here: edge://settings/search. We'll follow up once we have more!
— Microsoft Edge Dev (@MSEdgeDev) July 30, 2020
The issue appears to be related to auto-complete for search in the address bar, and could be avoided by switching to Bing as your default search engine.
Today Microsoft posted on Reddit to explain the cause of the issue, saying:
The Microsoft Edge team wanted to provide some clarity on this incident.
On July 30th, around 3:40pm Pacific, we were alerted to a crash affecting our Stable channel. It was immediately noted that this crash was occurring solely while typing into the address bar, and we quickly alerted the right team members to investigate.
Shortly after, we found that turning off search suggestions or switching off Google as the default search engine resolved the crashing issue. This was also noted by the community here on Reddit and Twitter. Our engineers found that an unrecognized token in the search suggestions JSON was causing the Edge browser to crash when typing in the address bar with Google set as the default search engine. We reached out to our friends at Google to see if they knew of a change that could’ve affected this. After investigating, they rolled back a recent update to Google’s search service to help mitigate the crash on Edge.
Thanks to the swift action on their team, we confirmed the issue was mitigated in Edge around 7:30pm Pacific. To insure we were not blocking the deployment of their changes, we had also rolled out a fix to our Stable channel. Later in the evening, however, we were notified that some users were still experiencing the crash at a much lower rate as the initial crash. After an investigation over Friday night, we found these residual crashes were related to caching of the response on some servers. We released another update to our Stable channel to mitigate the issue in its entirety. Head to edge://settings/help to make sure that you are on the most up-to-date version of Edge Stable which contains these updates: 84.0.522.52.
We are still in the process of rolling out these changes to our Beta and Dev channels and expect them to be in those channels this week.
The autopsy does leave some unanswered questions, as it appears that the browser shell was vulnerable to malformed data via Google’s servers, suggesting an angle of attack for hackers, and we hope the updates Microsoft has released to stable and soon dev builds address this data sanitation issue fully.
What do our readers think of this explanation? Let us know below.