A couple of weeks ago, Google announced significant changes to the Chromium release schedule. These changes directly affect Chrome’s update frequency. With the release of Chrome 94, the most popular browser will start receiving major updates every four weeks instead of six weeks, as it was for the last decade. Because Edge is using the same rendering engine and Microsoft is actively contributing to Chromium Project, the company has announced that it would adapt the same four-week schedule as well.
For regular consumers and enthusiasts, such as us and you, this change is welcomed. More frequent updates will bring new features faster and help the browser keep up with the competition. For enterprise consumers, though, moving Edge to a four-week schedule may create a significant inconvenience. To fix this problem, Microsoft announced a dedicated Extended Stable release schedule.
The Extended Stable channel
Unlike the regular stable, the extended stable update channel will offer major updates every eight weeks instead of four. According to Microsoft, this will ensure a constant flow of new features, managing policies, and bug fixes from the stable channel with a more “manageable pace.” At the same time, the Extended Stable channel will be getting minor updates with the most critical bug fixes and security updates every two weeks. Microsoft says a new update cadence is an “opt-out” experience, which means it will be default for all consumers and businesses. IT Admins will have to manually switch to the new Extended Stable channel to receive updates every eight weeks instead of four.
It is worth mentioning that the new update policies are not immediate. Similar to Google Chrome, Microsoft will apply the updated scheduling changes in the second half of 2021. The company says Edge will be switching to a four-week update cadence starting with Edge 94, which is due to release in September 2021.
Both Microsoft and Google recently shipped major updates to their browsers. Edge 89 improves startup time and reduces resource footprint with the Startup Boost and Sleeping Tabs features. It also brought vertical tabs and other UI improvements to all users in the Stable Channel. As for Chrome 89, it has a new Profile Manager, Reading List, and Tab Preview. Besides, Chrome now uses significantly less memory on all supported platforms. With the new update schedule, many improvements will come much faster to all users.
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