Google is pausing rolling out any updates for the Chrome web browser as well as the Chrome OS that runs on the Chromebook line-up of computing devices. This has been confirmed by the Chrome development team which says there has been an adjustment in work schedules, because of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. This means any updates for Chrome for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and iPadOS remain suspended for the time being.
There could be multiple reasons for why Google may have paused the updates for the Chrome web browser as well as the Chrome OS operating system. First, they probably want to leave things as is, considering a lot of people are now working from home—and update that breaks the functionality of a particular software or a critical workflow link could really make life difficult for employees and employers. Sensible, considering miliions around the world are shifting to work from home routines and the Google Chrome browser is by far the most used web browser in the world, despite competition from the likes of Microsoft Edge, Firefox, Opera and Vivaldi. Any bug or vulnerability would possibly immediately impact millions of users, and that is a risk Google isn’t willing to take.
“Due to adjusted work schedules, we’re pausing upcoming Chrome & Chrome OS releases. Our goal is to ensure they continue to be stable, secure, & reliable for anyone who depends on them. We’ll prioritize updates related to security, which will be included in Chrome 80. Stay tuned,” say the Chrome Developers in a tweet. Prioritizing stability over new features is a sensible move.
At the same time, Google is also working on a website that it had not planned for in the first place and was blindsided by US President Donald Trump. Last week, Trump in a press conference said Google was building a website that would tell the public everything they needed to know about the Coronavirus and whether they should seek to get tested or not. He added that Google had 1,700 engineers working on this website. In reality, Google was doing no such thing, instead working on a website for health workers as well as something that was a pilot project in the Bay Area with limited scope. In response to this, Google actually went ahead and decided to build the website anyway—now that its hand was forced. Basically, the scope and context of the pilot project website gets enhanced and there will be a website that will hold all the information about COVID-19 and available nationwide.