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Google investigating issue with blurry fonts on new Chrome 69

Font rendering appears to have broken down when Google promoted Chrome 69 from the Beta to the Stable channel. Windows users affected.

A Google spokesperson said today the company is investigating reports about blurry fonts with the newly released Chrome 69 version.

For the last 24 hours, since the official rollout of the new Chrome 69, countless of users have gone on Twitter, Reddit, and the Google Product Forums [1, 2, 3, 4], to complain about "blurry" or "fuzzy" text inside Chrome.

The blurred font issue wasn't only limited to text rendered inside a web page, but also for the text suggestions displayed inside the address bar search drop-down, and Chrome's Developer Tools panel.

The image below shows how text renders inside Firefox 62 (on the left), compared to Chrome 69 (on the right), on a Windows 10 machine. The text rendered on the right lacks a sharpness and crispiness quality that the Chrome browser is usually known for. The difference is barely noticeable, but it is there, and users used to Chrome top-notch font rendering have immediately noticed.

chrome-blurry-font-issue.png

Font rendering for Firefox 62 (left) / Chrome 69 (right)

According to reports, the issue only manifests for Chrome 69 users on Windows. Those who rolled back to Chrome 68 stopped having problems. Users said that changing Chrome, operating system, or screen DPI settings didn't help.

"Our team is investigating reports of this behavior. You can find more information in this public bug report," a Google spokesperson said last night after first user complaints started surfacing online.

Google released Chrome 69 yesterday, on September 4. Chrome 69 launched with a new user interface for the browser's main UI. Chrome has undergone slight UI modifications in the past, but this was the browser's first major UI redesign since its launch, a decade ago.

"Many of the reports mention that this also affect the UI so we're likely looking at a Skia or Chrome side change," a Google engineer wrote in the official bug report, suggesting a possible cause for the issue. Skia is Chrome's graphics engine.

Another engineer pointed out that font rendering worked just fine in the beta version of Chrome 69.0.3497.81 but apparently broke down when the browser was released as the official stable release.

Google engineers are usually quite fast at resolving these kind of quirky issues. Chrome users should expect a fix in the coming hours or days.