Chrome poses as Safari to access Hotmail

By on January 30, 2009, 12:36 PM
Having been barred from Windows Live Hotmail for not being one of the supported browsers, Google has found a simple workaround for Chrome to work with the service – it is pretending to be Apple’s Safari. Late yesterday, Google posted updated beta and stable versions of Chrome, one that changes the browser's user agent string to Safari when visiting Hotmail and effectively sidesteps a compatibility issue that had caused problems using the site.

Since they are both built on the same WebKit platform the workaround seems to be working just fine. Some speculate that Microsoft was sabotaging competition here, especially since it apparently requires a simple change in the site’s code. On the other hand, perhaps it is just that Chrome represents a tiny portion of those using Hotmail and thoroughly testing for compatibility is not a critical priority for Microsoft. Regardless, Google said this is only a temporary solution until the Hotmail team deploys “a proper fix.”

The new version also fixes three security vulnerabilities, two of which could enable cross-site scripting attacks via malformed PDF files and one related to a bug in the JavaScript Engine. Last but not least, the update also solves a Yahoo! Mail issue which prevented users from sending email in the web interface.

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