Google also wants to block the user-agent of Chrome

Each browser is identified by a “user-agent ” (user agent), a code name which contains more information about it. We find the name of the browser, obviously, as well as sti version number, but also other elements, such as the name and version of the operating system used, or as keywords that allow certain web sites to adjust their behavior.

Analysis of the user-agent of the latest version of Chrome on macOS Catalina.

This identification is transmitted by the browser to each site, and this allows the creators of the sites to adapt their functions depending on the browser. It was particularly useful a few years ago, for example, when Flash was still common on the web, sites could be identified, Safari on the iPhone and iPad, and view versions in HTML 5 instead. More recently, theuser-agent has fallen in disgrace for several reasons.

Apple tries to get rid of for a few years now, because this information is often misused for advertising purposes. The objective of the networks that sell advertising web is to build profiles of users as accurate as possible. For this, they exploit theuser-agent among other information available about you, to distinguish you from another user. But it is not so easy to abandon one of the foundations of the web and the version number of the browser continued to be updated, even if Apple has removed a part of the information.

Theuser-agent for Safari is the same on macOS, but it is iPadOS. Here, an iPad is identified as a Mac by the web site.

Google takes the idea to his or her account, the purpose wants to go further. In a message posted on the forums of Chromium, Yoav Weiss announces a change that will take place throughout the year 2020. The final objective is to block theuser-agent of Chrome, as Apple wanted to do it, and eventually remove it completely to term. Instead, Google is proposing a new standard named User Agent Client Hints, gold-CH.

The principle of THE-CH is to take over the role of identifying theuser agent, aim to do so with a better respect for the privacy of the user. This involves several changes, and in particular on access to information. While web browsers passed systematically login to web sites, whether they need it or not, each site will need to make a request to retrieve a specific information in the context of THE-CH. For example, the site may request the operating system of the visitor and he will have this information and only this one.

More information will be provided : the night of the browser, version number, either major or complete, the name of the operating system and its version number, architecture and processor (x86 golden ARM), a model name of the device or if it is a mobile device or not. Google provides to start from scratch, which will reduce the number of items in the user-agent for historical reasons of compatibility.

Google is going to move quickly on the subject. As early as mid-march, the use of the user-agent will be deprecated, but still available. At the beginning of the summer and in September, Chrome will block his id, as did Apple, giving less information and in unifying including the operating system. Meanwhile, UA-CH will be managed by the browser, for sites that need these items.

Remains to be seen whether other browsers will follow and if this will become the new standard. Microsoft has expressed stis interest to Edge, Firefox wants to follow the path of Apple by blocking stis user-agent, goal without going so far as to support AT-CH for the time being. The designers of Safari are not pronounced, which is the purpose one can imagine that this will be the same position, at least in a first time.

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