Google is aiming to release a new ‘stable' version of its Chrome browser every six weeks.
Program manager Anthony Laforge wrote on the company blog that it is aiming to roll out a new release process to accelerate the pace at which Google Chrome stable releases become available. He said that there were three ‘fundamental goals in reducing the cycle time: namely: to shorten the release cycle and still get great features in front of users when they are ready; make the schedule more predictable and easier to scope; and reduce the pressure on engineering to make a release'.
He said: “We have new features coming out all the time and do not want users to have to wait months before they can use them. While pace is important to us, we are all committed to maintaining high quality releases — if a feature is not ready, it will not ship in a stable release.
“The second goal is about implementing good project management practice. Predictable fixed duration development periods allow us to determine how much work we can do in a fixed amount of time, and makes schedule communication simple.”
He said that the third goal is about taking the pressure off software engineers to finish features in a single release cycle. Previously, he claimed that when Google faced a deadline with an incomplete feature under the old model, it had three options, all of which were undesirable: engineers had to rush or work overtime to complete the feature by the deadline; delay the release to complete that feature (which affected other un-related features); or disable the feature and wait approximately three months for the next release.
“With the new schedule, if a given feature is not complete, it will simply ride on the next release train when it's ready. Since those trains come quickly and regularly (every six weeks), there is less stress,” he said.
Laforge also claimed that there is a plan to increment major versions with every new release (i.e. 6.0, 7.0, 8.0, 9.0), so the numbers will start to move a little faster than before.
He said: “Please don't read too much into the pace of version number changes - they just mean we are moving through release cycles and we are geared up to get fresher releases into your hands.”