51Degrees: 2022 recap


1/5/2023 2:15 PM

51Degrees News

Google's changes to the Chrome User-Agent dominated our year

As we begin a new year, let's look back at what 2022 had in store for 51Degrees.

User-Agent Client Hints

This new(ish) HTTP request header created by Google has caused quite a stir since their announcement at the start of 2020. As part of the Privacy Sandbox proposals, User-Agent Client Hints (UA-CH) are Google's replacement for the User-Agent within Chrome browsers. In tandem, Google has staggered the removal of information from the Chrome User-Agent and it is due to conclude in April 2023.

Unfortunately, Google's UA-CH and User-Agent reduction has greatly impacted the device detection business. So much so, we had to update our service to include support for Google's changes.

Version 4.4

Version 4.4 of 51Degrees, released in June, includes full support for UA-CH. Within Chrome, information will only be sent through UA-CH – the Chrome User-Agent will cease to be as useful. 51Degrees uses the User-Agent and now, UA-CH, to determine the device, so this is especially impactful to device detection.

It's important to note that Version 3 of 51Degrees does not support this change, so if you are a Version 3 customer of ours, please get in touch to initiate an upgrade.

Updated User-Agent tester

We have also updated our User-Agent tester to allow other input values. Before, the tester could only accept the User-Agent. Now, you can input the User-Agent alongside the following User-Agent Client Hints headers:

  • Sec-CH-UA
  • Sec-CH-UA-Arch
  • Sec-CH-UA-Full-Version-List
  • Sec-CH-UA-Full-Version
  • Sec-CH-UA-Mobile
  • Sec-CH-UA-Model
  • Sec-CH-UA-Platform
  • Sec-CH-UA-Platform-Version

Events and webinars

Throughout the year, we attended numerous events – both as exhibitors and as visitors.

2022 was the first year back to in-person events which meant, after a 2-year gap, we were back exhibiting at MWC Barcelona and DMEXCO.

The team at DMEXCO 2022

Our CEO and Founder James Rosewell also made his presence known visiting multiple events, including the UK AOP's Publishing Tech Talk, Adexchanger's Programmatic IO, and the Sitecore Symposium. Not only that, but he was an in-demand speaker, talking at numerous events on his work in the privacy industry. Follow James on Twitter to keep up to date on where he's speaking next!

Finally, at the end of September, we hosted a webinar on User-Agent Client Hints; you can watch the recording or read the transcript.

What's next?

The start of 2023 is forecast to be a busy one, as 1 February 2023 marks the next phase in Google's User-Agent reduction – from 1 February with the release of Chrome 110, Chrome mobile and tablet User-Agents will no longer contain device and android version information. Finally, from the end of April with the release of Chrome 113, Google will finish their User-Agent reduction and all page loads will receive the reduced User-Agent.

This is a lot to prepare for; we've updated our service to support Google's changes, now all that's left for you to do is ensure your business will be unaffected. Protect yourself before April and get started with Version 4.4.

Thank you all for a great 2022!