Google resumes Chrome updates after brief hiatus owing to COVID-19

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Google Chrome logos illustration Max Pixel

Google usually releases regular updates for its Chrome web browser every few days or weeks to keep it protected from all sorts of new malware that could infect your computer via the internet. But if you haven't been getting any such updates for the past few weeks or so, don't worry because Google had actually paused all its Chrome updates in order to ensure stability in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Now, Google has said that it is ready to resume work on Chrome and its releases.

The search engine announced in a blog post that future Chrome releases will resume, albeit with an updated release schedule. It seems the Mountain View-based tech firm plans to skip a version to make up for the multi-week halt.

Google resumes Chrome updates rollout

According to the Google blog post, the current Chrome 80 release will begin receiving new security updates starting next week.

The next stable release that rolls out broadly to Chrome users aka Chrome 81, which was previously scheduled for March 17, has been rescheduled and will now be launched on April 7 and Chrome 83 will be released some time in mid-May. The current Chrome 80 release will receive one more update some time next week, and will bring upgraded security with fixes for vulnerabilities and what Google calls some "critical issues."

Also the releases for the Beta, Dev and Canary builds of the browser either "have or will resume this week," Google said.

What about Chrome 82?

Google canceled the Chrome 82 release earlier this week to make up for the time lost by the suspension.

Jason Kersey, director of technical program management at Google, confirmed that the company will indeed be skipping version 82 of Chrome, but all the features and other work that were planned for Chrome 82 will instead find their way into Chrome 83, which will be released three weeks prior to what had been "previously planned."

The now scrapped Chrome 82 was originally scheduled for April 28, but Chrome 83, which was originally supposed to roll out on June 9 will now be out in mid-May, most probably on May 19.

Why did Google halt Chrome updates?

Google said it had to pause all its Chrome updates in order to prioritize stability of its browser and its operating system Chrome OS, as millions of users started working from their homes as a result of the self-quarantine and social distancing measures in place during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The main reason behind Google's pausing of the updates during these trying times, was to avoid causing severe disruptions to the millions of web developers, systems admins, Google engineers and the countless other people and employees who just started working from home earlier this month following the global outbreak of COVID-19.

However, Google has now assured that its Chrome development team has adjusted to working remotely and that it will "continue to closely monitor that Chrome and Chrome OS are stable, secure, and work reliably" during the pandemic period.

Microsoft pauses Edge and Windows updates

Microsoft also paused the release of Edge 81 version for its Edge browser last week. The Redmond giant is suspending the optional cumulative updated for its Windows 10 OS beginning in May. However, it has said that it will continue to release crucial security updates. As in Google's case, the reason for this is the deadly contagion that has been wreaking havoc the world over.

Related topics : Coronavirus Cybersecurity