A missing ampersand has banned some users from their Chromebooks

A major bug in a recent release of Chrome OS (91.0.4472.147) prevented some users from using their Chromebooks. Reddit has already noticed the problem in due course. As some eagle-eyed users, including a “elite_ferret” (first noted by android police), have noticed, the problem seems to come down to a missing ampersand in Google’s code.

In particular, it seems that Google has used one “&” in a conditional statement in its Cryptohome VaultKeyset, instead of two “&&”, the “AND” operator in C++, breaking the rule. The accident prevented Chrome OS from comparing user passwords to stored keys, such as: Ars Technica notes, which prevented some users from logging in.

Google has not yet responded to a request for comment.

The Chrome OS subreddit was aware of the 91.0.4472.147 bug as early as the afternoon of July 19. “The latest stable update prevents users from logging in”, a user wrote at 1:23 PM ET. “We recommend NOT updating until further notice.” Some users also started report bugs around that time – some complained that their devices wouldn’t accept their passwords, while others said they couldn’t even get past the boot screen.

Google said that night on his Customer Service Portal that a fix would be deployed by the end of the day on July 21, and recommended that users powerwash their devices, go back to previous Chrome OS builds, log in with guest mode, or wait for the fix. By the next day, the company had identified the problem with the new building and halted the rollout. On the 21st, it noted that a new version (91.0.4472.167) was being rolled out.

“The rollout will gradually be released to devices over the next few days,” reads the update. “Affected devices can log in using guest mode or an account not logged in to the device.” Once the affected users have successfully logged in, they can follow the steps in Google Help Center to download the latest update.