Facebook tests its own browser in its Android app

Meta’s Facebook has tested its own custom browser engine called Chromium Webview within its Android app, with the intention of making the code more widely available. The goal is to improve security and user experience and replacing the default Android System WebView with a more stable solution.

Although the previous WebView system offered users some resource efficiency benefits, this came at the expense of the user’s browser preferences, stored passwords, retained login state, and browser settings in terms of privacy, accessibility, and extensions.

Facebook explained that users update the Facebook app more frequently than the software that powers the in-app browser, and cited vulnerability to zero-day exploits and Facebook app crashes as the main problems caused by its dependence on Android System WebView.

To address those concerns, Facebook created a separate Chromium-based WebView that updates in tandem with Facebook app updates.

Switching to a custom browser has several benefits, according to Facebook, including improved stability, security and performance.

According to Facebook, the benefits of its new in-app browser include the ability for Facebook to distribute the most recent Chromium security patches directly to users who install when users update the Facebook app, so that users do not visit sites with outdated software, which can pose security risks.

It will also lead to fewer app crashes and improved performance when rendering web pages and launching Instant Games via Facebook Gaming. It also stated that this will not affect people’s privacy settings on Meta services.

The sources for this piece include an article in TheRegister.

IT World Canada Staff
IT World Canada Staff
The online resource for Canadian Information Technology professionals.

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