For over 10 years now, Chrome has stuck with roughly a 6-week update scheddule. In a world dominated by slow and spaced out updates for software and firmware, this has always been a breath of fresh air. As Google began rolling out bi-weekly security updates in addition to this 6-week cycle, the writing was on the wall that they could not only keep up with the 6-week update practice, but actually shorten that up and bit and still keep pace.
Just yesterday, Google announced that it is moving forward with such a plan and will begin shortening the Chrome update cycle to a 4-week period versus the current 6-week setup starting in Q3 of 2021 with the release of Chrome 94. In addition to this more-rapid schedule, Google is also adding another release tier in the form of the Extended Stable option, allowing users to take updates on an 8-week rolling schedule. Here’s what Google says about why they are adding this option:
Extended Stable will be available to enterprise administrators and Chromium embedders who need additional time to manage updates. Security updates on Extended Stable will be released every two weeks to fix important issues, but those updates won’t contain new features or all security fixes that the 4 week option will receive.via the Chromium Blog
It would seem Chrome OS will be coming along for this exact same ride unless the move to separate Chrome the browser from Chrome OS the operating system finishes up by this time. In that case, the Chrome browser on Chromebooks would begin updating every 4 weeks while we’ll have to wait and see how the OS updates will actually happen. For now, the only mention of Chrome OS in the post from the Chromium Blog is in regards to the Extended Stable options that will be available to administrators for Chrome OS, but details won’t come on that front for a few months.
If Chrome OS and Chrome stay hooked up as they are now, there’s no reason to think that Chrome OS won’t be getting updated every 4 weeks moving forward, but this change could also be the reason we’re seeing so much work being done on Lacross – the code name for the stand-alone Chrome browser for Chromebooks. If split, Google could update and treat Chrome the exact same across all platforms, including new features and this updated release schedule. We’ll be keeping a closer eye on Lacros from this point forward, for sure, but it’s definitely exciting to think that we may end up with a new version of Chrome OS every month not long from now if that’s not the direction Google goes with Chromebooks.