Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Naver Whale browser running outdated Chrome engine

I'm generally a fan of Naver's new browser Whale, especially since it's based on Chromium. I figured it would be quick to receive crucial security updates. But while fooling around last night I noticed that the browser engine is out of date.

Screen cap from Whale info page

Whale lists itself as up-to-date in the Whale info page (whale://about/) on Whale version beta. Sounds good, I guess.  

But curiosity got to me and I checked a profiler site to see what data was publicly visible regarding the browser, which included the specific browser engine version: 58.0.3029.110

Whale browser engine version. Source.

The site also pointed out that this made my Chrome installation out of date, so checked the Chrome Release logs to see when that version was applicable. It was released (or at least, announced officially in a blog post for the stable channel release) on May 9, 2017. 

Chrome release post for that version. Source: Google

The most recent stable Chrome engine release, meanwhile, is (at time of this blog post) version 59.0.3071.115, listed as released June 26, 2017

Digging through the Whale Changelog release notes shows that version 58 of the Chromium engine was incorporated into Whale build beta on June 29, 2017. 

Whale change log capture

So there were 52 days between the release of v58 and its incorporation to the Whale code. 

Meanwhile, it's been 23 days since the release of v59, but it's not been added as of this blog posting. 

Now don't get excited. Please note that this is just to inform you, the potential user. Security patches are pushed out all the time, and 50 days is pretty good compared to using IE 11. And note that the other big Chromium-sourced browser, Opera, is also still running engine 58 in its latest version (v45). This is not a huge security issue for the average user, but something to bear in mind. Plus Whale is still in beta anyway.

UPDATE: It's September now, and Whale is up to v60 with Chrome at v61. Opera is at v58. So let's applaud Naver for keeping Whale secure and current. 

For me, Whale's biggest problem is that by default, mouse middle-clicks open in the split-screen Whale "Spaces" thing instead of a new tab. Click behavior inside Spaces is unpredictable too, or else I'm too stupid to figure out the logic behind it. Maybe a little of both. 


  1. I really really love the Whale Browser, and I've tried it out. It's just that the English version is not available without an activation key. Do you have any idea how I can retrieve that? I've already emailed them, but I didn't get a response.

    1. Good news! The English version is out now. See here:

  2. The activation keys were needed only during the closed-beta period. Whale is now open-beta, so you don't need a key. If the installer is asking you for a key, you've got an outdated installer. Revisit the Whale site to download the latest installer.

    However, there's no English version (and there never was). Even the version you (formerly) could have downloaded from the English site was in Korean. Since they've removed the English site now, I'm guessing we won't see an English version for awhile (if ever).

  3. They're falling behind again.
    As of March 4th 2018

    Naver Whale is using Chrome engine Version: 60.0.3112.113
    Latest Version available: 64.0.3282.167

    I do really like Naver Whale but it's just a reality that non-Google Chrome based browsers will lag behind in security.