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Google to resume Chrome releases on April 7

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Google today said it will resume Chrome releases in two weeks and plans to make good on the multi-week suspension by skipping a version.

Chrome 81, the upgrade that was previously slated for a March 17 debut, will instead launch in two weeks, on April 7.

In the meantime, Chrome 80 will receive at least one more update – at some point next week, Google said – with fixes for vulnerabilities and what the search firm called “critical” issues. Releases of the Beta, Dev and Canary channels, which contain builds of decreasing polish and stability, either have already resumed or will this week.

Google suspended Chrome releases on March 18, citing “adjusted work schedules” but clearly blaming the COVID-19 pandemic and its massive overturning of business and personal conduct.

On March 10, for example, Google recommended that all North American employees work from home. Later, Santa Clara County, where Google’s HQ is located, was one of several that told residents to “shelter-in-place.”

Chrome 82 was canceled by Google to make up for the time lost by the suspension. That upgrade was to appear April 28.

Instead, the features and other work done on Chrome 82 during its stretches in the Dev and Beta channels will be rolled into Chrome 83, now slated to launch May 19. That’s three weeks earlier than its original June 9 date.

The schedule for Chrome 84 and beyond – shown here – has been accelerated by three weeks through at least Chrome 88, the first upgrade of 2021. “[Chrome 84] and beyond dates are still subject to change,” Google warned on the calendar, adding, “We will share a future update on the timing of the [Chrome 84] branch and releases” in the announcement of release resumption.

Rival Microsoft had followed Google’s lead by halting releases of its Edge browser – built on the same Chromium codebase as Chrome – two days later.

Although the Edge team had not made a similar announcement Thursday as of 2:30 p.m. ET, Microsoft will resume Edge releases at some point, probably on a cadence similar to Chrome’s.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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