Google Chrome and most Chromium-based browsers receive major updates every six weeks, but Google thinks it can finally change a decade-old schedule and shorten this period. Later this year, Chrome will shift from a six to four-week update cadence. The company has announced this change in the Chromium blog.
Google says improved testing, update processes, and bi-weekly security updates helped the company to realize that it is safe to shorten the release cycle. This change will help developers speed up the deployment of new features and bring them to the stable channel.
It will take some time for the company to move to the new release schedule. New policies will go live starting with Chrome 94 which is set to be released in the third quarter of 2021.
Of course, not everyone will be happy with this change. In addition to reducing the release cycle, Google is adding a new Extended Stable option. With Extended Stable enabled, Google Chrome will get major updates every 8 weeks instead of four. It will be available to enterprise administrators and Chromium-based projects that use it embedded. It is also worth mentioning that the browser will keep getting security updates every two weeks. Still, those will not include new features.
Currently, Chrome's release schedule changes do not apply to the Chrome OS. Google says it will soon share more info about Chrome OS's multiple stable release options. Also, the preview build schedule remain the same with daily updates for Canary and weekly for Dev. As for Beta, this channel is getting new major builds every four weeks.
Google has already updated the documentation and release calendar. The company also encourages Chromium contributors to share their feedback about the release cycle change. It is currently unknown whether Microsoft will follow the same pattern. For now, Edge receives new updates every six weeks, just like Google Chrome. In fact, Microsoft just released a major update to Edge 89. This version contains the new vertical tabs layout, startup boost, and other minor improvements. A similar update is available to Chrome as well.
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