Google Chrome Release Channels

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Release early, release often. We think that's the best way to develop software that delights people. With Google Chrome, we want to release fewer features more often instead of making you wait 12 months for the next Major Dot-Oh Release Jam-Packed With Features. We can get your feedback faster, fix things faster, and release new improvements as soon as they're ready. We want Google Chrome to stay nimble so it can keep pace with changes in the sites and web apps you use. 

Because we don't have those big Dot-Oh release milestones on the calendar, we don't have long periods of Beta testing new features. Instead we use automatic update channels to release Google Chrome to a community of early adopters. The channels are essentially a never-ending Beta test and a continuous feedback loop that lets us rapidly develop new ideas into solid product features. 

You can subscribe to one of our update channels:
  • Stable channel. Everyone is on the Stable channel when they first install Google Chrome. The Stable channel is updated with features and fixes once they have been throughly tested in the Beta channel. If you want a rock solid browser but don't need the latest features, the Stable channel is for you.
  • Beta channel. People who like to use and help refine the latest features subscribe to the Beta channel. Every month or so, we promote stable and complete features from the Dev channel to the Beta channel. The Beta channel is more stable than Dev, but may lack the polish one expects from a finished product.
  • Developer preview channel. The Dev channel is where ideas get tested (and sometimes fail). The Dev channel can be very unstable at times, and new features usually require some manual configuration to be enabled. Still, simply using Dev channel releases is an easy (practically zero-effort) way for anyone to help improve Google Chrome.
To get more actively involved with Google Chrome, subscribe to the Dev or Beta channel. Just run a little program (found here) and that's it. After that, you'll automatically get early access updates.

If you're ready to try some new stuff, we've just released a Dev channel update that has a new version of WebKit, a new network stack, and some features like form autocomplete (read about it here). It's less polished than what Dev channel users have been getting during Google Chrome's Beta, so we've moved all of our existing Dev channel users to the Beta channel. If you were on the Dev channel, you can decide whether to switch to the new Dev channel or stay on the new Beta channel.

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