Google has only just announced significant cuts to Chrome browser development. But today it is taking things even further.
In a shock move first spotted by ChromeUnboxed, Google has warned users that the the impact of COVID-19 means it has had to scrap the next major release of Chrome entirely.
“As we adapt our future milestone schedules to the current change in schedule, we have decided to skip the M82 release to ensure we keep users safe and focus all efforts on maintaining stability,” explained Jason Kersey, Google’s director of technical program management.
M82 is the codename for Chrome 82 and it would have been the backbone for the next big upgrade of Chrome on Windows, Mac, Android and Chrome OS. Kersey states that every element of the release will be abandoned with plans to skip to Chrome 83 (M83) at some point in the future:
- We will abandon current M82 branches, remove infra support, and stop testing/merges to the branches
- We will not push any new M82 releases to Dev, and we will stop stabilization for Beta.
- We will move Dev channel to M83 asap
- We will keep Beta channel on M81 until M83 is ready to be promoted
In fairness to Google, while this comes as a shock because it is an unprecedented move in Chrome’s 11-year history, we are currently living in unprecedented times. Moreover, while Chrome feature development is in hiatus, Google will continue to deliver security patches for the current version of Chrome, protecting the browser’s 2BN strong userbase.
So where do we go from here? There will be more cancellations. Chromium, the core for Google Chrome, powers numerous web browsers, including Microsoft Edge. All are now hamstrung and you can expect Microsoft to lead the way in making a similar announcement for Edge this week.
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