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Google cranks up Chrome release schedule

Quantity and quality - together at last

Google plans to release new stable versions of Chrome every six weeks as it continues to try and smash through as many builds as possible of its increasingly popular browser.

Mountain View’s Chrome program manager Anthony Laforge explained that Google had decided to ramp up the number of stable versions of the browser the company releases in order to get features to users faster and make the schedule more predictable.

He added that speeding up the version cycle would also “reduce the pressure on engineering to ‘make’ a release”. In other words Chrome developers will be less stressed if the firm pumps out iterations of the browser more regularly.

“Over the next few months, we are going to be rolling out a new release process to accelerate the pace at which Google Chrome stable releases become available. Running under ideal conditions, we will be looking to release a new stable version about once every six weeks, roughly twice as often as we do today,” said Laforge.

He added that if Chocolate Factory coders decide that a feature isn’t quite ready for the big time yet then it would be held back from the next stable release.

In other words, the six-week grace period between releases makes life easier for the Google dev team because they’ll have the knowledge that a feature that didn’t make the grade this time around might only have a small wait before being pumped out to the masses. Which is quite a clever method that Google, of course, is only too familiar with.

The company likes to keep many of its products in beta for a very, very long time. That way, its developers can continue to watch their work evolve online with the aid of an army of users. Google didn’t follow its own “best practice” with the development of Gmail’s Buzz, which explains why the creepy, privacy-lite social network hasn’t taken off in the way that Chrome, for example, has.

Laforge likens Chrome’s new release schedule to orderly trains leaving Grand Central station, rather than being like unreliable taxis departing from the Bronx. It’s a crappy metaphor for claiming that Google will deliver on time. But in effect, it’s being that bit more generous with the dog food.

After all, why just chew on your own grub in-house when there are so many hungry mouths to feed? ®

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