Amid the growing COVID-19 crisis and growing security risk, Google is pulling back on new releases of Chrome and Chrome browser, allowing Google’s reduced and remote workforce to focus on the most important aspect to protect users–security.
In an update on March 18, Google said: “Due to adjusted work schedules at this time, we are pausing upcoming Chrome and Chrome OS releases. Our primary objectives are to ensure they continue 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."
The move comes as Chrome 81 for desktops and Android was supposed to start rolling out on March 17, including the wider release of features such as Tab Groups to improve usability.
Hackers are increasingly targeting the workforce being sent home across the world due to coronavirus. There are certainly a lot of problems with Google’s Chrome, which has already led some users to switch to Firefox.
Firebase tools criticism
In other news, Google's Firebase, a set of software that Google makes available to apps developers, are reportedly under investigation by state attorneys general and the United States Department of Justice.
Reuters reports that some app developers say Google is increasingly pressing them to embed code in their own products that will deepen Google’s access to data on consumers, giving the company a leg up on rivals.
Firebase helps developers of Android apps build apps fast, without managing infrastructure. The tools gives developers functionality like analytics, databases, messaging and crash reporting. Firebase is built on Google infrastructure and scales automatically. Firebase products work individually but share data and insights between them.
Google says that the Firebase tools are optional, and that they spare app makers from coding basic components or having to install alternatives that can be more complex.
Firebase is bundled with Google’s Android Studio, the most well-known program to code apps for Google’s Android operating system. But during the last couple of years, Google has made it difficult for apps to operate common functions without Firebase tools.
Of course, Firebase tools also give Google, the internet’s top ad seller, information on what consumers are doing inside apps that it can exploit to target ads to users.
Google acquired Firebase in 2014.