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Google Schedules Chrome 6, 7, and 8 For This Year 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the incrementing-and-iterating dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google said that it will be releasing a new stable version of Chrome every six weeks, which is about twice as fast as the release pace today. The goal is to make new features available when they are done and to make Chrome releases more predictable. Has anyone complained that there were too few new Chrome releases? Mozilla has been releasing a major new browser update twice a year and Microsoft is on an 18-24 month pace. Firefox's 4.0 Beta 2 is scheduled for release soon, and it appears that Mozilla is somewhat paranoid about the Black Hat Conference. 3.6.6 was planned to be the original 'Black Hat release'; now we are at version 3.6.7 and Mozilla has already a build candidate of 3.6.8 that will be released depending on news coming out of Black Hat."
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Google Schedules Chrome 6, 7, and 8 For This Year

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  • Speculation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 23, 2010 @06:13PM (#33008596)

    Maybe because "Internet Explorer 9" sounds better than "Chrome 5" to some people just because of the version number.

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      First post gives the most plausible explanation. Congratulations, AC!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by SquarePixel (1851068)

        If you know the history of browsers it's the most obvious one too. This goes back to IE and Netscape era, where Netscape actually skipped over a version number because IE was "leading" them. Now Google does the same bullshit...

    • Whenever this comes up I say it took them 9 tries to get it right, only took the Firefox guys 4 tries But imo the IE team hasn't quite gotten it right yet
      • Firefox, Firebird, Phoenix, Mozilla

        Yep, 4 major revisions.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by LordLucless (582312)

          Most of the transitions between those names weren't major revisions - they were re-badging to avoid getting sued. (Phoenix -> Firebird, Firebird -> Firefox)

    • by supernes (1560323)
      Seems like the most logical explaination to me as well. This is Mozilla's golden chance to end the browser war with one fell swoop by rebranding!
    • Re:Speculation (Score:5, Informative)

      by dingen (958134) on Friday July 23, 2010 @06:44PM (#33008986)

      You are exactly right. And it's quite noble of Google they are actually planning to release version 6 to 8 at all. They could take an example of Sierra or Microsoft.

      The Larry team at Sierra On-Line felt they were falling behind to King's Quest in the late eightees. King's Quest was already at number 4 in 1988, while a year later Larry only released part 3. To get ahead, the folks at the Larry team decided to skip part 4 altogether and go straight on to Larry 5.

      Microsoft played an even worse trick with Word for Windows when they released version 6 in '93 after their previous version 2 from '91. Afterall, WordPerfect was also at version 6, so now Word was up to speed as well.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Chaostrophy (925)

        Don't forget bind, went from 4.9 to 9 in the mid-late 1990s.

      • Re:Speculation (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Inner_Child (946194) on Friday July 23, 2010 @07:29PM (#33009446)

        The Larry team at Sierra On-Line felt they were falling behind to King's Quest in the late eightees. King's Quest was already at number 4 in 1988, while a year later Larry only released part 3. To get ahead, the folks at the Larry team decided to skip part 4 altogether and go straight on to Larry 5.

        Except this isn't right. The reason there was no Leisure Suit Larry 4 was, in the words of the creator:

        So why did Leisure Suit Larry 5 follow Leisure Suit Larry 3?

        Why wasn't Passionate Patti Does a Little Undercover Work named Larry 4?

        There are several reasons:

        I always assumed the series would be a trilogy. It just seemed right. I was pleased that people enjoyed Larry 2 enough to convince Sierra that a third installment would be well received. Therefore, I made the ending of Larry 3 air tight: Larry and Patti were together at last; Larry was telling his life story through a computer game; it appeared they would live happily ever after, etc.

        While Larry 3 was in "crunch mode," I was working 'round the clock to get it out in time for the 1990 holiday shopping season. I grew tired. And tired of Larry. When Sierra employees asked me about the next Larry, my disgusted response was, "There's not going to be a Larry 4! I'm stopping with three."

        When we finally gave up trying to develop a multi-player on-line adventure, I came up with some fun ideas for the fourth game, but I was stuck for a beginning. I couldn't figure out how to start the story because I had left Larry and Patti living happily ever after, remember? How to get them out of Coarsegold?

        When my design for the fourth game was well along, one day, in the hallway of Sierra, I ran into an employee I hadn't seen for quite some time. Her first question was, "So what are you working on these days, Al? Larry 4?" And I, in true smart-ass fashion, replied, "No, Larry 5! Of course I'm working on Larry 4!"

        A light bulb went off!

        Why not? Who says sequels must always be "in order?"

        I started bouncing the idea off people. Inevitably, their response was, "Larry 5? What happened to Larry 4?!"

        That was exactly what I wanted. Suddenly I was completely freed from the restraints of the Larry 3 ending. I could have the new game begin anywhere. The idea was wacky, silly, dumb in a perfect "Larry-esque" way. And, it solved the "mind share" problem--how to grab people's attention and make them think about the next Larry game and had they missed something?

        And that, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is the whole truth about what happened to Larry 4!

        Either that or my dog ate the floppies!

      • Re:Speculation (Score:4, Informative)

        by R.Mo_Robert (737913) on Friday July 23, 2010 @08:29PM (#33009970)

        Microsoft played an even worse trick with Word for Windows when they released version 6 in '93 after their previous version 2 from '91. Afterall, WordPerfect was also at version 6, so now Word was up to speed as well.

        Sort of. Microsoft Word for Mac was at version 5.1 at this point, and to synchronize version numbers between the platforms, they decided to call the next version on both Windows and Mac version 6. (This was also the first time the Windows and Mac versions shared siginficant amount of code, much to the detriment of the Mac version. In fact, MS offered free "downgrades" to 5.1 due to all the complaints. Anyway, this code-sharing is probably also responsible for their desire for version-number synchronization.)

        Of course, I'm sure looking equal or better next to WordPerfect didn't hurt, either. :)

      • Both instances you're citing here are nowhere near as sinister or devious as you make them sound.

      • by Yo Grark (465041)

        No, Leisure Suit Larry skipped 4 on purpose: No 4-play for Larry!

        And yes, I'm aware of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leisure_Suit_Larry_4:_The_Missing_Floppies [wikipedia.org]

        Yo Grark

      • but is it any better? They might start of version 20 at least their intentions are clear. Artificially bumping version numbers incrementally very very very fast to appear as good guys doesn't really inspire more confidence than coming out clean.

      • by Meski (774546) *
        And then everyone went to using year numbers for versions.
      • by Jesus_666 (702802)
        On a less serious note, let's not forget Bungie who went from Marathon 2 to Marathon Infinity.
      • <quote><p>Microsoft played an even worse trick with Word for Windows when they released version 6 in '93 after their previous version 2 from '91. Afterall, WordPerfect was also at version 6, so now Word was up to speed as well.</p></quote>

        Yes, but:
        - Word 5.1 for the Macintosh, released in 1992
        - Version 6.0 for the Macintosh, released in 1994, was widely derided, unlike the Windows version. It was the first version of Word based on a common codebase between the Windows and Mac version
    • by treeves (963993) on Friday July 23, 2010 @06:50PM (#33009076) Homepage Journal
      So why not go straight to 11? Then it beats OS X too, which has been stuck at Roman Numeral ten for-freaking-ever.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Damned! You beat me to it! The explanation is simple indeed: Google goes all the way to 11.

    • by MalHavoc (590724)
      With the way these version numbers are going, I feel as if I'm in a Star Trek episode, getting ready to enter orbit around a browser planet or something. IE is really ramping up the size of its solar system!
    • by gmuslera (3436)
      Remember the origin of the name of the company that makes Chrome. They should just jump to Chrome Googol, and skip versioning by numbers as it will be automatically forced to be the last one if its ever connect to internet.

      And if Microsoft strikes back with Explorer Infinity, with that they will only recognize that they are lost.
  • huh. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by igadget78 (1698420) on Friday July 23, 2010 @06:15PM (#33008614)
    So are these all beta's?
    • So are these all beta's?

      The beta channel is planned to be updated at the same pace as the stable channel for Chrome, but presumably would be something like a version ahead. Dev channel is expected to continue to get weekly updates.

    • No, it just looks likes the Google Chrome team has discovered agile. If they use two-week sprints and have each feature broken up into three sets of user stories, they could complete and release a new feature every six weeks as planned.

  • the average joe might think the IE 8 is better than Chrome 5 or FF 4... Just a thought
    • What other reason could it be - can they possibly crank out that many major versions and rewrites in this time frame and justify its technical viability, or is it just marketing?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DragonWriter (970822)

        What other reason could it be - can they possibly crank out that many major versions and rewrites in this time frame and justify its technical viability

        Yes, but that's because Google is (unsurprisingly, as they are one of the companies whose practices are held up as models of lean methods) implementing a lean approach to what a "major version" is: a "major version" just means a stable release that contains anything other than bugfixes. Instead of setting up a system where there are a bucketload of features

  • Why? (Score:3, Informative)

    by sznupi (719324) on Friday July 23, 2010 @06:16PM (#33008634) Homepage

    It gets upgraded automatically anyway, no reason to encourage people there... (yes, I do hope, perhaps in vain, that it doesn't affect the decisions on the level of "I can't use this browser, it has too low number")

    • by Threni (635302)

      They keep doing it with Android versions too. It's good because people don't know what software works on there...wait, no. That's not it.

    • Last I checked, Chrome had an update button in the About Chrome page (and had Google Updater), but Chromium lacked that button. My Debian unstable's package (chromium-browser) is getting updated through the repos, but how do the Windows builds of Chromium update (besides reinstalling)?
      • by sznupi (719324)

        Huh? You said yourself "and had Google Updater"...

  • version numbers (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    What happens after version 12? Do we go to version 13 or skip that like buildings do with floors?

    Anyway Firefox V4.0 is in beta, while 3.7 is still in alpha.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft Office jumped from 12 to 14.

  • Idiots (Score:5, Interesting)

    by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Friday July 23, 2010 @06:28PM (#33008804) Homepage

    Anyone that says, "Oh, Internet Explorer 9 is better than Chrome 5" is an idiot.

    That's like saying, "Terminator 4 is clearly better than The Godfather, look it's 3 versions newer!"

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There's a reason why the Xbox 360 isn't called the Xbox 2. It's because 360 > 3 (i.e. Playstation 3), and thus, obviously must be better.

      • by neoform (551705)

        In that case they should just switch to build numbers. Chrome 4750 sounds way more advanced than Internet Explorer 8.. right?

      • Ok, makes sense. Now could you explain why ESPN360.com recently became ESPN3.com? All I can think of is that ESPN360 intimidated people who were used to ESPN & ESPN2. These people are more likely to adopt ESPN3. Nevermind, I'm talking out of my hat...look away.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by boreddotter (1836042)
      A lot of people are not as computer literate as slashdotters, many will think exactly that. Have you ever seen the video google made a while back asking people which browser they used? I pretty sure it was just before they released their own browser, many said they used google, they didn't even know what a browser is.
      • It doesn't matter if they don't know what a browser is... what matters is that most people do distinguish between two products.

        Nobody buys a Chevy S1500 over a BMW 3 because the BMW 3 was clearly inferior due to its "model number."

        Computer literacy has nothing to do with this. If they are given the option to download Chrome X vs Internet Explorer X, they probably will chose the one they recognize - brand or program name - not based on comparing the numbers.

        Ok, so there are probably some people that do thi

    • by blair1q (305137)

      Your reason for their being idiotic is idiotically narrow-minded.

      Chrome is my third-most-used browser, and may soon be fourth. (Yes, I have all 4 installed on my home box.)

      Firefox gets the most use. Things just all seem to be where they should be and operate as they should. Though the 4.0 beta tabs are a bit unsettling. I switched off the tabs-on-top, because that's just a fucking stupid place to put them, but they still extend all the way to the left border of the browser, instead of to the left border

    • Re:Idiots (Score:5, Funny)

      by mrsquid0 (1335303) on Friday July 23, 2010 @09:24PM (#33010358) Homepage

      On the other hand, Apollo 13 blew the pants off the previous 12 Apollo movies.

    • by grcumb (781340)

      Anyone that says, "Oh, Internet Explorer 9 is better than Chrome 5" is an idiot.

      That's like saying, "Terminator 4 is clearly better than The Godfather, look it's 3 versions newer!"

      True story: A film titled The Madness of George III was renamed to The Madness of King George [imdb.com] for its US release, because distributors worried that people might pass on it, having missed the first two episodes.

      Insert Barnum quote here...

    • by Yaa 101 (664725)

      Yeah, but the world is full of IQ 100...

    • by muszek (882567)

      Luckily browser makers don't have to worry about catering to idiots. Who needs 90% of the market?

    • Why not? As time goes on, people make better and better things. It happens in technology, so why not in the arts as well? My computer today is mostly better than the computer I owned ten years ago. Likewise, Inception is far better than The Godfather not only because it has a good story, but also because its special effects and production quality are leaps and bounds ahead of the earlier film. Why would we give an earlier version of a work a handicap because it was good "for its time?"
  • by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday July 23, 2010 @06:31PM (#33008836)

    Has anyone complained that there were too few new Chrome releases?

    Certainly, there have been complaints that features that are stable in the beta channel not being in stable; having more frequent feature releases to stable addresses that.

  • sleazy PR ploy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285)
    Just like MS, Google is versioning browser to catch up, not because they do anything new. Google can't even get a product out of beta in less than two years, so why should it be expecting a major upgrade every quarter? Only one reason. To create the impression that the browser is better than Safari 5 (though it uses the same rendering engine) and to reduce the market impression that it is worse than IE 8.

    As it is, Chrome 2.0 should have been the 1.0 RTM, with everything before being a 0.x public releas

    • Frankly, I've never heard of people thinking one product is less than a different product just by comparing version numbers. I don't doubt they exist, but I really don't think that would ultimately work if the implementation isn't up to par.

    • Version numbering really does not matter, but to assert that releasing a version every six weeks is necessary to release features more often is silly.

      Uh, no, its true.

      Its impossible to release new features more often without releasing versions of the software more often.

      Google is just saying "we're releasing stable versions of Chrome every six weeks from now on. They'll include whatever features are ready for a stable release at the time we do the release. The
      major version number' -- as, AFAIK, it always ha

    • Just like MS, Google is versioning browser to catch up, not because they do anything new. Google can't even get a product out of beta in less than two years, so why should it be expecting a major upgrade every quarter?

      Its not "expecting" a "major upgrade" every quarter.

      It is scheduling a stable feature release of Chrome every six weeks (a little bit more than twice a quarter) with whatever features are ready for a stable release at the time.

      Since the feature releases will have whatever features are ready, (

    • Re:sleazy PR ploy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Dhalka226 (559740) on Friday July 23, 2010 @07:26PM (#33009414)

      What Google is in fact saying is that Chrome is a very immature browser with a very immature feature set, and they are wiling to sacrifice everything else that once made Chrome a legitimate browser in an effort to make it buzzword compliant.

      So Chrome is an immature browser with an immature feature set and yet a legitimate browser. But if they want to increase the maturity of the feature set "to make it buzzword compliant" that will be sacrificing everything? Does this compute to anybody?

      Sometimes new features are just bloat, and they end up bad. That doesn't mean that new features are automatically bad, and it surely doesn't mean that their versioning scheme has anything at all to do with its quality.

      Chrome is "legitimate" (whatever that means) or not on its own merits, not how often they release or what version number they attach to such releases. And frankly, if it's a "sleazy PR ploy" the only reason for it is that it works. If people truly believe Chrome is worse than Safari 5 or IE 8 just because of the version number why is it "sleazy" to take that excuse away and force people to actually evaluate the browser on its merits?

  • I always thought using Emacs 23 to browse the web was at least 4 years ahead of its time.
  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday July 23, 2010 @06:38PM (#33008924)

    I won't be happy until my browser updates every time I launch it and at least once an hour while I'm browsing. And the updates should force an automatic restart.

    • insightful?
    • In related news, Microsoft just announced they will be pushing out new versions of Windows on a daily basis. Today you're running Windows 7, but by year's end you'll be on Windows 168. There, fixed that for you.
    • by dl748 (570930)
      Why stop there? It should force an automatic reboot, to make sure windows is fast enough to work with their faster than lightning browser.
  • Mozilla has just released Firefox 3.6.8, a 'chemspill' release to fix a regression that could allow exploitability. If anything is found at Black Hat, they'll release Firefox 3.6.9.
    • And? These are bugfixes. You aren't getting much in the way of new features in the 0.0.x releases. What Google's doing is tossing everything that's "ready" into a new version number every few weeks. Not entirely unlike a sped-up version of Debian's new release cycle, actually...
  • Google:
    We are uncovering better ways of developing
    software by doing it and helping others do it.
    Through this work we have come to value:

    Spying on Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    Chinese market over freedom of speech
    Rehashed Programming languages over some new ideas
    Rush jobs over tested software?... dunno, well see...

    That is, while there is value in the items on
    the right, we value the items on the left more.
  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Friday July 23, 2010 @07:12PM (#33009310)

    is not always good. If you are talking about changes like Safari 4 to 5 where nothing changed much in terms of interface and user interaction, it's just a version number. But if you start monkeying around with the UI and changing things that quickly. You make people mad.

      As an example I'll use Blender 3D. I used to work as the IT guy in a post production shop that mostly used Lightwave about a decade ago. I got to learn some of the basics, but 3D was a hobby along with video editing. I did some work on the side with FCP, but all the 3D work I did was pure fun & hobby. I was no where near talented enough to do it pro and the $2000 price tag of Lightwave made it a bit pricey (especially given the rendering times). Blender became usable for my goals in the 2.3x series and best of all I could get relatively cheap distributed rendering. I forget the exact details, but it was something like $50 per month unlimited frames of Blender. And I could do it month to month. So basically I'd create my scenes. That usually would take 3 - 5 months to get a few minutes of video. Once I had enough scenes to render about 5 minutes worth of animation, I'd buy a month subscription to the service and render away with multiple passes, etc..

    Well, then things started to change with the 2.4x version where it seemed like just as I got used to the new interface, boom, everything suddenly changed and I'd spent the next month trying to figure out where all the old buttons went and what the new ones did. Then the physics engine changed and all the previous scenes I had with particles effects would have to be redone and this continued it seemed like every 6 months. As someone who got to use the program a few hours a week, it seemed like every 6 months I was trying to relearn a program I had been using since 2000.

    Meanwhile, in the last couple years if I had used Lightwave, I would have had to upgrade once between Lightwave 8 and 9. And frankly, the interface hasn't changed that much since I started using the application in 1999 with version 5.6. A few things have moved, a bunch of features have been added, but basically I can load up the demo of 9 and within a weekend have my first scene ready to render. The overall style of the interface hasn't changed that much.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      But if you start monkeying around with the UI and changing things that quickly. You make people mad.

      Google hasn't said they plan to increase the number of UI changes Chrome experience per unit time. They just said they plan on releasing on a frequent and regular schedule, and releasing whatever features are ready for a stable release at each release.

    • To quote Wikipedia:

      All of Blender's ".blend" files are forward, backward, and cross-platform compatible with other versions of blender.

      If the old versions of Blender were working fine for you, why upgrade? Your rendering shouldn't be affected.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        Yea, and all of Words files are forward, backward, and cross-platform compatible ... to an extent.

        Its impossible to have a file made with a new feature or new system work in the old software.

        You and the blender team have a fucked up idea of what forward and backward compatibility mean.

        Forward compatibility is common and usually not that hard. Backwards compatibility is entirely different.

        If he said he had to redo his particle effects and other things between versions that should be a clear sign to you that

  • Firefox just prompted me to update to 3.6.8, for the record. I'm sure more people have or will be seeing this.
    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      Writing this off 3.6.8, and I've updated my laptop in the morning (eastern european time). It's been pushed to new users for at least 10 hours now.

  • People talk about Google missing out a version number so that they can keep up with IE. Not only is this argument petty and absurd, its not true. Chrome versions 1-6 have been showing up on my statistics for a while now.
    • by deep9x (1068252)
      The current dev channel version is 6.0.472.0. And is stable enough for everyday use - I'm using it in every OS I have.
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      So ... no one is talking about missing a version, their talking about releasing minor, petty changes as 'new versions' in order to keep up with IE.

      In other words. IE releases say 15 new features between 8 and 9. Chrome will be releasing with one new feature in 7, and one in 8 and one in 9, so they can catch up.

      Either way, considering its only a couple years old, the version number jumps are ridiculous.

      Its just Google pulling a Win95 and trying to confuse version numbers even more.

  • Chrome has been sucking for me lately. Slow displaying Yahoo Mail and has problems displaying pdfs with the adobe plugin.
  • Here we go again with version number games! Gotta get to a big number quickly so people think your browser is at least as good as your competitor's.

    Chrome 3? Why would I use Chrome 3? Internet Explorer is at 8! EIGHT!!!

  • What's wrong with 5? Or 3 for that matter.

    I'm still missing some of the layout in Firefox 2. A high number does nothing on its own.

  • by shish (588640) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @03:29AM (#33011918) Homepage
    So far everyone seems to be saying that the version number is a publicity thing; but I've been using chrome for about 6 months and have no idea what my version number is. What sort of publicity stunt hides in the background only visible to people who go out of their way to check the "about" menu?
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      The kind that they announce on their web page constantly when you visit it from another browser.

      The kind that makes it to slashdot and other news outlets.

      Its not to get people already using chrome to do anything, its for people not using chrome to switch to chrome.

  • "Release early, release often" - Linus Torvalds. As long as they are properly tested and this hyperactive release schedule doesn't push them into buggy releases, go for it.

  • Black Hat? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Journe (1493651)
    Question: What's this Black Hat version of Firefox? From the sound of it, I'm assuming it's a version that's tested for security by the...darker-helmed of the userbase.
    • Question: What's this Black Hat version of Firefox? From the sound of it, I'm assuming it's a version that's tested for security by the...darker-helmed of the userbase.

      Mozilla is operating under the assumption that Black Hat will turn up a major (or at least well-publicized) new security vulnerability in Firefox. With that in mind, they're basically aligning their release schedule in preparation for an immediate "chem spill" release if needed.

  • Sounds like it's going to be Linux style releases, where they make a minor update every 6 weeks or so. In Linux, the 2.6 part of the version number has become almost meaningless (since we know it's going to stay 2.6), and the .34 part is what's important. So Linux is on version 34 after 6 years or so.

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