Update (25-Feb-2015):

We have rolled out a first patch that helps detect problems of loading the video conversion code. Affected users are given an option to switch to an alternative (slightly slower) variant of our video conversion code (the same variant that runs in other browsers, such as Firefox). We will continue to monitor the problem and pinpoint problems in 3rd party Chrome extensions. In the meantime, we hope that today’s patch already caters for a better user experience.


 

chrome-extensions-fail

Browser extensions are rightfully popular. They let you customize your browsing experience in every possibly way, from blocking ads down to tricking visited websites into locating you in another country than you really are. In the land of Oz, people use the latter type of browser extensions to watch US online streaming services such as Netflix while it’s not yet available down under. Or so I heard.

While most of the browser extensions found on Chrome’s app store (here is a link to clipchamp’s listing in there) are well-written pieces of software, there are a few faulty ones as well.

We occasionally receive issue reports from some users, complaining about problems they experience on our site. And sure enough, these reports have also helped us finding bugs in our software related to corner cases we didn’t anticipate. Arguably more often though, we find that misbehaving Chrome extension can sometimes interfere with clipchamp, or even break our service.

A frequently reported phenomenon is that the video conversion process seems to get stuck before it even started. Here is a bit of explanation what happens when triggering a video conversion (or finishing a webcam recording):

We initially load the video conversion code at that point in time. This is a slightly larger piece of software that runs within your browser. As this happens only once (and not normally again when you use clipchamp the next time), that’s a small and acceptable one-off penalty. If all goes well the video conversion code will load in a matter of seconds and start doing its job immediately thereafter.

What we see with some Chrome store extensions though, is that these can badly interfere with the process of loading the aforementioned video conversion code, essentially causing it to fail loading (and running). While we couldn’t produce a complete shortlist of “culprits”, we generally found that any Chrome extension that tampers with the way Chrome performs network requests is susceptible to causing such issues. That commonly includes some extensions that route your network traffic through a Virtual Private Network, thus counterfeiting your actual whereabouts. What’s a VPN, you ask? This comprehensive guide about VPNs is a good introduction to the topic.

We are currently investigating these issues further – not only to properly advise our users on how to fix these problems caused by one of their browser extensions. But also to let us engineer a robust mechanism that detects problems in 3rd party browser extensions on our end and offers some workable mitigation. We also started contacting the vendors of such faulty extensions, informing them of those defects they have in their products and offering advice on how to fix these, if we can. Most importantly though, we support our users to the best of our abilities.

clipchamp has a built-in support contact form, which we diligently respond to. Feel free to contact us if you experience any issues!