Google announced today that it will be speeding up Chrome releases later this year. Currently, Google pushes major updates out to Chrome on a six-week timeline, but this fall, that’ll switch to a four-week timeline. Google said today that this won’t necessarily speed up the rate at which new features are added to Chrome, but it will allow the company to push bug fixes more regularly.
That’s important too, because it was only earlier this week that Google issued a patch for a zero-day vulnerability that has an active exploit in the wild. By moving to a four-week release cycle for major Chrome versions, Google will be able to patch those vulnerabilities on a much more regular basis.
The first new Chrome update on this schedule is expected to be Chrome 94, which Google says will release on September 21st, 2021. That makes Chrome 93 the final release in the current six-week structure, and gives it a release date of August 31st, 2021. In a separate blog post, Google says that it will be rolling out a new “Extended Stable” option that will update with a new milestone release every 8 weeks.
The Extended Stable option will be put in place for “enterprise administrators and Chromium embedders” who can’t manage Chrome releases on a four-week timescale. Bug fixes, however, will be delivered on a two-week basis to Extended Stable users, so they don’t have to worry about getting bug fixes on an eight-week schedule as well.
So, later on this year, we’ll see Chrome get updated with major releases once a month, which is a pretty big change for Google. Hopefully that means a secure browser overall, even if doesn’t mean new features on a faster basis.