COVID-19 disruption delays release of Chrome version 81

It’s the COVID-19 shortage nobody expected – not toilet rolls, tinned goods or headache pills this time but Google software engineers.

It’s a problem that many believe explains the abrupt decision by Google to delay the of 81, the stable version of which was scheduled to start appearing on users’ computers on 17 March.

This was a bit of a shock – pulling the release of a browser version so late in the day is highly unusual, especially when the developers’ Twitter account had reportedly already announced its arrival in a now-deleted tweet.

The same delay applies for future versions, which should have appeared roughly every five weeks after that. Said the brief note from the Chrome Release Team:

Due to adjusted work schedules at this time, we are pausing upcoming Chrome and Chrome OS releases. Our primary objectives are to ensure Chrome continues to be stable, secure, and work reliably for anyone who depends on them.

The phrase “adjusted work schedules” is not surprising given that the company last week ordered many employees to work from home to enable social distancing to cope with COVID-19.

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