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Google Chrome on iOS. All That?

Posted on the 29 June 2012 by Techdrink @techdrink1

As an avid Chrome user – it is the best browser by far – I have been anticipating an iOS version for a long time. I really don’t like Safari and as I don’t work on a Mac it has been something of a bugbear that I have to use it on my iPhone and iPad. At Google I/O 2012 yesterday, they unveiled Chrome for iOS and made me a happy bunny. Or did they?

Chrome for iOS
Chrome has many advantages over other browsers, the biggest by far being speed. Unfortunately, Chrome for iOS is crippled in this respect thanks to Apple’s rules on third-party developers. Instead of using Google’s super fast JavaScript rendering engine it has to use Apple’s UIWebView, which is significantly slower, especially on mobile. It shows too. Web pages take longer to load than they do in Safari on the iPhone or Chrome on a desktop. Not only that, scrolling is also slower. The former I could live with, the latter could well become an issue.

However, Chrome for iOS does bring with it some significant benefits, especially for existing Chrome users. The best of these is without doubt the fact it syncs with your desktop browser so as soon as you sign in your bookmarks, history, open tabs and everything else that syncs across computers are right there for you. This is going to be a Godsend for dedicated Chrome users. It’s certainly a benefit to me. I can have a lot of tabs open at any one time and it used to be a real pain that, once I’d left my desk, I’d have to remember what sites I had open to access them again in Safari, on the move.

Now my desktop browsing comes with me. Perfect.

In addition, Chrome on iOS just looks better than Safari. Google have really done well with it, everything is very accessible, the movement between tabs is well done, the swipe to close a tab works well…it’s all pretty seamless and from a user perspective is a much better experience than Safari offers.

Other Chrome features are there too; you can go Incognito if you want to. Very, very handy feature, that.

Overall, Chrome for iOS is better than Safari apart from that damned speed limitation. I’m usually an advocate of Apple’s closed shop approach but every now and then, when a third party does something well and it’s hindered, you do wonder if it’s the right way to go about things. You can’t make Chrome your default browser either, so chances are you’ll still be using Safari for a lot of things. Chrome, however, will be there when you want to get at the stuff you were working on on your desktop and that is going to remain it’s defining feature…and saving grace.

Chrome is available in the App Store now – along wit Google Drive, if you’re interested…



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