Google Pauses Chrome Updates

John Lister's picture

Google says it won't be adding any new features to the Chrome browser and operating system for the moment. It's switching to security updates only, a move prompted by changing work patterns.

Announcing the move, Google wrote:

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. We'll continue to prioritize any updates related to security, which will be included in Chrome 80. (Source:

Chromebook Use May Rise

While not directly mentioned, it's clear that "adjusted work schedules" refers to people working from home as a result of social distancing measures during the COVID-1 pandemic. However, it isn't just to do with Google's own staff being more widely dispersed than normal.

Instead, it also appears likely that many more people than usual will be working remotely on Chromebooks, particularly in households where people no longer felt the need to have a traditional laptop or desktop computer. That in turn makes it a particularly bad time to risk any new features proving buggy.

Indeed, the next planned full update for Chrome (version 81) has already been delayed. It was scheduled to roll out to most users on Tuesday after a period of being available only to people who have chosen to test it in beta edition.

Videos Could Disappear

While Google hasn't given specifics about this delay, one beta tester had reported a bug that meant Chrome wouldn't display some videos. (Source:

The move could put pressure on Microsoft to follow suit. It's fair to say the Windows 10 update process has been a bumpy ride, often with a vicious circle of updates to fix one problem turning out to create another one.

That could be even more problematic than usual if people are working from home on Windows computers without IT staff on hand to fix any problems and manage the update process.

What's Your Opinion?

Is Google right to pause feature updates under the circumstances? Should Microsoft also switch to security updates only for the time being? Are you working from home and if so have you experienced any technical issues?

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nospam_5346's picture

I think Microsoft should switch permanently to a system of separating security updates from feature updates and let users decide if they want new features (and the apparent chance of messing up their computer that has been the hallmark of Windows 10).

Personally, I find all their new “features” useless as I just want an OS and the first thing I have always done is delete and disable as many of them as I can.

I’ve yet to downgrade to Windows 10 for several reasons one being I’m not sure which programs I use might not work, another that I just don’t like the flat (made for touchscreens GUI), and of course the update fiasco where things get broken, settings you’ve changed being reset to the default, no control over whether to install updates, the inability to uninstall things like Cortana which constantly phones home even when turned off, etc.

The only thing that keeps me from ditching Windows is I’m a gamer with a couple hundred games that really don’t run well on Linux.

Windows should go back to being Windows rather than a poor imitation of Apple. If I wanted an Apple, I would have bought one.

dan_2160's picture

I've been using PCs since the ealry 1980s, starting with a CP/M machine because a colleague who really "knew" computers insisted I don't buy one of those IBM PCs because some kids invented the operating system in a garage.

Over the decades, I've seen users bemoan and whine about every new version of Windows - sounding an awful lot like nospam_5346. I can categorically state that Windows 10 is the best Microsoft operating system so far -- and for those of us who use our computers for work, it keeps getting better and better with every iteration.

I can report that Windows 10 runs just about any program created for Windows going back to those last updated in the Windows XP era. I'm still running the powerful Corel Ventura 10 desktop publishing program - which was released in something like 1999 and last updated in 2003. But if you have hundreds of games, there's a good chance that Windows 10 -- even in emulation modes -- won't play nice with some older games. You can always update to Windows 10 and set up a virtual machine using the Windows 7 OS where you can run any of your games that won't run in Windows 10 -- if any.

As for features and icon appearance that don't appeal to you - keep in mind that over 1 billion other people use Windows 10 and I'd bet that the majority of them don't share your taste in features or icon appearance. No company can please everybody.

If you're worred about updates breaking Windows 10, you should know that you can always uninstall the guilty update. Alternatively you can visit and see, on the home page, when it is safe to install each new Windows update.

nospam_5346's picture

With all due respect, you've made an assumption about me and an argument I've heard with each new iteration of Windows.

I have used PC's since the '80's, too. DOS 1.0. My first computer was a TRS-80 Model 2. I skipped the Millennial Edition and Windows 8.0 and 8.1, but have used every other edition including Windows 10 on one of my desktops and one laptop. I have yet to downgrade my main desktop.

Your argument is also one I hear with each edition of Windows. Just get used to it and it's the greatest ever. And that's great for you. If you need or use all of the "features" then great. But, why does that mean I can't just get the basic OS without all those "features" if I don't need or want them? Why does it have to be one way or the other? Make the "features" optional or allow them to be deleted. Make them default if you want, but allow the user to decide what they want to use.

I also don't like the way Win 10 has split up all the settings so you have to search around to find what you want. Why? Put them all in the Control Panel.

I don't like how even if you change some settings with gpedit, they don't actually change. And, even if they do, you have to often redo it after an update.

What I see is that Microsoft makes good changes under the hood that probably most users don't even know about and certainly don't see. So, to get people to upgrade, they mess with the GUI and add things many of their users don't need or want. Windows has become bloatware. I don't want Microsoft Money and you can't really get rid of it. You can use powershell to disable it, but can't delete it.

I don't need Cortana on my desktop. I can't delete it. Even if you turn it off it still loads and phones home multiple times a day. I once used a program to block it and it reported a couple hundred attempts in a couple of weeks. Why should I allow it to use my bandwidth when I don't use it?

It's interesting that you bring up icon appearance. I remember when Windows 7 came out many did not like the menu. I actually read a reply from Microsoft saying that the old menu just wouldn't work with Windows 7 and then Ivo created Classic Shell and somehow it worked just fine.

The fact is that a lot of people don't like the features and icon appearance just like they don't like the ribbon interface. If third parties can provide simple programs that restore the older interfaces that people are use to, then why can't Microsoft simply make it available from the start? They obviously still work. Let me choose which I want.

So again, why can't you have all the nifty "features" and flat GUI if you want it and I can have a bare bones OS with a more pleasing GUI? Why is it either/or?

buzzallnight's picture

not very good as a cell phone graphical user interface either.
Also I do feel the need to have a traditional laptop and desktop computer!