As a Chrome user, I don’t actually notice the version number I use all that much, since it’s always auto-updated to the latest version (as opposed to say Firefox where users actually have click something to update). That’s part of the reason why I was somewhat surprised to see Chrome version 6 as the latest dev-channel release.
Didn’t Google just hit version 5 in February?
Well as of May 20th, Chrome dev-channel is at version 6.0.408.1. That’s right Chrome has advanced another full version number in about four months – for devs at least.
Without a doubt, this is one of the fastest browsing naming efforts I have ever seen. At this rate Chrome 8 or 9 will be out by the end of the year. Is Google trying to have Chrome 9 out at the same time as IE 9?
As for why Google has made the version number jump – it’s a question that I’m not the only one asking. Multiple commentators on the Google Chrome release blog have the same question.
Basically what the answer comes down to is Google’s project release methodology for Chrome. The dev-channel puts out weekly releases (sometimes more if there is a particularly nasty bug fix required).
“The Dev tree becomes 6.0 after 5.0 is essentially done and the new 6.0 features then begin to show up and be tested,” commenter Chris Jones wrote. “People keep forgetting that we’re pretty nearly running real time for feature additions. They don’t add a bunch of features and sit on it as they’re doing that for a big “all new features” dev release.
The 6.0 is indicative of what’s about to be added in upcoming weeks. Do notice that the 5.0 new features had pretty much tapered off weeks ago.”
The Chrome 5 Beta came out at the beginning of May, and with it came the inclusion of an integrated Flash player as well as some serious performance gains.
Is it enough to say that a new version number is now warranted? Personally I don’t think so. That said, Chrome does have a rapid pace of innovation, and Google’s ridiculously rapid numbering of new browsers helps to fuel that too.