Merge Request Process


  • After branch point, all merges will be closely reviewed (either manually or automatically) by TPMs and release owners.
  • Requirements for approving merges are becoming more stringent and scrutiny of merges gets higher as we get closer to the stable launch date. Any necessary merges should be requested as early as possible.
  • All merge candidates should have full automated unit test coverage, have been deployed in Canary for at least 24 hours, and full developer confidence that change will be safe.
  • When requesting merge review, please provide clear explanation for why a merge is required, the criticality and impact of the issue, and ensure that bug is correctly labeled for all impacted OS's.


Chrome ships across multiple channels which are built from different release branches. In general, changes should first land on trunk, be shipped and verified in a canary release, and then promoted to our Dev, Beta, and Stable channels overtime. However, due to many reasons and scenarios, it’s possible that changes may miss branch date and require a merge post branch.

Merge: any change that is cherry picked from trunk to a release branch.

Please read overview of Chrome Release Cycle to understand in detail how the Chrome release cycle works and understand key release concepts and terminology. Please read Defining Release Blockers to understand how issues/bugs are categorized as release blocking. List of schedule and release owners can be found at Chrome Calendar (Googlers only, opening to all in the near future).

When to Request a Merge?

This section will discuss when and what type of bugs can be merged based on criticality of the issue. Please note that the scrutiny of merges gets higher as we get closer to the stable launch date. Merges post stable-rollout have a higher bar than merges prior to Stable.

Chrome Merge Schedule

Phase 1: First Two Weeks After Branch (two weeks before beta promotion)

There are bugs and polish fixes that may not necessarily be considered critical but help with the overall quality of the product. There are also scenarios where dependent CL’s are missed by hours or days. To accommodate these scenarios, merges will be considered for all polish bugs, regressions, and release blocking bugs for the first two weeks after branch point. Please note that merges will not be accepted for implementing or enabling brand new features or functionality. Features should already be complete. Merges will be reviewed manually and automatically, depending on the type of change.

GRD file changes are allowed only during this phase. If you have a critical string change needed after this phase, please reach out to release owner or Chrome TPMs.

Phase 2: First Four Weeks of Beta Rollout

During the first four weeks of Beta, merges should only be requested if:

  • The bug is considered either release blocking or considered a high-impact regression
  • The merge is related to a feature which (1) is entirely gated behind a flag and (2) does not change user functionality in a substantial way (e.g. minor tweaks and metrics code are OK, workflow changes are not)

Security bugs should be consulted with to determine criticality. If your issue does not meet the above criteria but you would still like to consider this merge, please reach out to release owner or TPMs with a detailed justification.

Phase 3: Last Two Weeks of Beta and Post Stable

During the last 2 weeks of Beta and after stable promotion, merges should only be requested for critical, release blocking issues where the fix is low complexity.

Security bugs should be consulted with chrome-security@ to determine criticality.

This table below provides key dates and phases as an example, for M61 release.

Key EventDate
Feature FreezeJune 23rd, 2017
Branch DateJuly 20th, 2017
Branch Stabilization PeriodJuly 20th to August 3rd, 2017
Merge Reviews Phase 1July 20th to August 3rd, 2017
Beta RolloutAugust 3rd to September 12th 2017
Merge Reviews Phase 2August 3rd to August 31st 2017
Merge Reviews Phase 3August 31st 2017 and post Stable release
Stable ReleaseSeptember 6th, 2017 + rollout schedule

Merge Requirements

Before requesting a merge, please ensure following conditions are met:

  • Full automated unit test coverage: please add unit tests or functional tests before requesting a merge.
  • Deployed in Canary for at least 24 hours: change has to be tested and verified in Canary or Dev, before requesting a merge. Fix should be tested by either test engineering or the original reporter of the bug.
  • Safe Merge: Need full developer confidence that the change will be a safe merge. Safe merge means that your change will not introduce new regressions, or break anything existing. If you are not confident that your merge is fully safe, then reach out to TL or TPMs for guidance.

Merge Request

If the merge review requirements are met (listed in section above) and your change fits one of the timelines above, please go ahead and apply the Merge-Request-[Milestone Number] label on the bug and please provide clear justification in the bug.

Please provide clear explanation for why a merge is required, what is the criticality and impact of the issue, and ensure that bug is correctly labeled for all impacted OS's.

Approved merge requests in Phase 2 and Phase 3 will require a post mortem.

Once Merge is approved, the bug will be marked with Merge-Approved-[Milestone-Number] label. Please merge immediately after. Please note that if change is not merged in time after approval, it can be rejected.

If merge is rejected, “Merge-Rejected” label will be applied. If you think it’s important to consider the change for merge and does not meet the criteria above, please reach out to the release owners, TPMs or TLs for guidance.

Merge Reviews

The release team has an automated process that helps with the merge evaluation process. It will enforce many of the rules listed in sections above. If the rules above don’t pass, it will either auto-reject or flag for manual review. Please allow up to 24 hours for the automated process to take effect.

Manual merge reviews will be performed by release owners and TPMs.