Chrome 81 for desktops and Android was supposed to start rolling out on Tuesday as part of the normal six-week update cadence. Google announced today that it’s “pausing upcoming Chrome and Chrome OS releases.”

Original 3/18: The company today only cites “adjusted work schedules” as being behind the pause, with the coronavirus presumably responsible. Google employees around the world are working from home for the foreseeable future. While the company is better adapted for remote work than most, there is still an impact to lives, schedules, and workflows.

Similarly, the Android team in launching Android 11 Developer Preview 2 today made reference to “learning how to adapt to these extraordinary times,” and thanked the community for continuing to provide feedback.

Our primary objectives are to ensure they continue to be stable, secure, and work reliably for anyone who depends on them. We’ll continue to prioritize any updates related to security, which will be included in Chrome 80.

Google has yet to provide updated guidance on the new release schedule, and is focusing on security and reliability rather than introducing new user-facing or developer features. In not introducing functionality, Google is ensuring that the browser remains stable.

While Google is not promoting Chrome 81 from the beta to stable channel, it will resume working on Dev (in the near future) and the Canary builds are unchanged

It will continue updating Chrome 80 (desktop, Android, Chrome OS) with security patches, and one such release widely rolled out yesterday.

Chrome 81 yesterday would have brought the wider launch of Tab Groups and modernize form UI — checkboxes, dropdowns, etc. — to improve touch and accessibility. Meanwhile, Chrome OS 81 would have followed a week later.

Update 3/20: Microsoft is following the Chromium Project’s lead and will “pause updating the Stable channel to Edge 81.” It will continue updating Edge 80 with security and stability fixes, and more details are coming next week.

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