Last week, a group of Slate staffers started commiserating about a strange frustration: They couldn’t copy URLs from Google’s Chrome browser into other programs on their Macs. “This damn URL bug is killing me!” Slate’s managing editor Lowen Liu wrote in an email. Weird.
The problem seems to be cropping up on Macs running both OS X Yosemite and OS X El Capitan, and affects some users’ ability to paste URLs into programs like Apple Notes and the Microsoft Outlook desktop application. There are workarounds for the bug, like selecting the “Paste and Match Style” option in some applications, but they take a few extra seconds and that’s not what you want from something as basic as copying and pasting.
Other people are mad, too:
As Seguin and Patel point out, it’s a known bug and people have been talking about it in Google Help forums for a few months. Commenter Parker Johnson wrote, “So glad I stumbled upon this [forum] … thought I was going crazy.” The bug is called Issue 618771, and Chrome developers were talking on the thread over the last few weeks about which new Chrome build to put the patch into. They originally considered adding it as an incremental update to the current version of Chrome, 51, but on Thursday concluded that it will go into Chrome version 52. A Google spokesperson confirmed that the fix is on its way and that the Chrome 52 beta will be released Wednesday (three days behind Chrome’s development calendar, which projected that 52 would be released Sunday). Issue 618771 has been marked as “Fixed.”
Copy and paste seems like a simple function, but it doesn’t just magically interoperate between applications. Updates to one application can disrupt its ability to paste into other programs. A Chrome developer wrote, “The problem with changes to copy/paste or drag and drop code is that the integration with external apps has poor test coverage.”
If you’re desperate for relief from annoying copy/paste workarounds, download Chrome version 52 beta on Wednesday. The update should roll out to all Chrome users shortly after. A lot of people around Slate will be celebrating.