All future Google Chrome updates have been suspended worldwide due to COVID-19 crisis

As millions leave their offices to work from home, Google has taken the unprecedented step of suspending all updates to its Chrome web browser. The immensely-successful web browser accounts for roughly 70 percent of all desktop web traffic, which means hundreds of millions will rely heavily on the app in the coming weeks and months to work remotely.

To ensure that Chrome continues to provide a reliable, stable and smooth experience for people at home, Google won’t be introducing any new features to its web browser.

The Mountain View-based company, which has scrapped plans to host thousands of tech workers at its annual developers conference due to the spread of novel coronavirus across the globe, will also suspend all updates and new features planned for ChromeOS – the lightweight operating system that powers ChromeBooks, like the Pixelbook Go.

The change, which will likely leave users with a substantial wait before they get their hands on new features, was announced in a tweet. The Chrome development team explained the decision, stating: “Due to adjusted work schedules, we’re pausing upcoming Chrome & Chrome OS releases.

“Our goal is to ensure they continue to be stable, secure, and reliable for anyone who depends on them. We’ll prioritise updates related to security, which will be included in Chrome 80. Stay tuned.”

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Given the unprecedented worldwide public health crisis, this makes a huge amount of sense.

While new updates often bring exciting new features or slick new designs, they also have a habit of introducing bugs, glitches and vulnerabilities into perfectly-functional software. And when an entire business is working remotely, those glitches could have potentially devastating consequences.

The Chrome development team also makes the case that it can be tough to balance the stability of the web browser and new features when the workforce developing the update is working remotely.

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As it stands, Google hasn’t made clear when we’ll see the next update to its Chrome browser. The company is currently beta-testing Chrome version 81 – although we’re unlikely to see any of the major developments from that browser roll out worldwide anytime soon.

Google currently has 1,700 engineers building a similar online tool. According to reports, Google’s project will be much more than an infection tracker and news portal and will also include information on the symptoms of COVID-19, risks associated with the disease, as well as information on the testing centres nearest to you.

Microsoft has already launched its own COVD-19 tracker, which can be accessed in Google Chrome or any web browser. It shows the latest statistics in each country as well as public health information from government bodies.

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