Google has historically released new versions of Chrome every six weeks with smaller patches rolled out in between. In a big change, Google Chrome is moving to a four-week update cycle this year.
From the beginning, Google has taken an aggressive stance on updating its browser in the background. Chrome is architected that way to ensure security, with new versions downloading silently and users getting frequently prompted to install by restarting.
Major versions (i.e. 88 -> 89) with new features are released every six weeks, while smaller security-focused updates come biweekly. Later this year, Google plans to release a “milestone” every four weeks so that new functionality on Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iOS, and Chrome OS can come on a faster monthly basis.
As we have improved our testing and release processes for Chrome, and deployed biweekly security updates to improve our patch gap, it became clear that we could shorten our release cycle and deliver new features more quickly.
This four-week cycle is expected to let Google “more consistently move the majority of users to the latest stable release within 2 weeks.”
As part of this change, “enterprise administrators and Chromium embedders who need additional time to manage updates” will get an “Extended Stable” milestone that’s on a longer eight-week cycle. Regular, non-managed Chrome users won’t be given access to this channel.
Security updates on Extended Stable will be released every two weeks to fix important issues, but those updates won’t contain new features or all security fixes that the 4-week option will receive.
Chrome OS, which updates a week after desktop and mobile, is also getting support for multiple stable releases. More details are set to arrive in the coming months for Chromebook administrators with managed devices.
Google will implement this new release cycle with Chrome 94 in the third quarter of 2021. The company is currently targeting September 21st for that update, with the last six-week version being Chrome 93 on August 31st. A preliminary schedule is available with new documentation, and the team is taking feedback from Chromium contributors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about Google Chrome:
- Chrome 89 rolling out: Reading list, Tab Search, Profiles redesign, and more
- [Update: Widely available] Chrome for Android rolling out grid view with Tab Groups
- Google surfacing lightweight HTML5 games in Discover, Chrome around the world
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