Sunday 1 July 2012

Google Chrome's now the No.1 free iOS app

Only yesterday did we report about one of the most popular browsers - Google Chrome coming to Apple's iOS platform. Although Google Chrome for iOS had been announced on Tuesday, it was only yesterday that it did get available on the App store. That, however hasn't deterred it from grabbing a viable slot in the store, as CNET now reports that Google Chrome is already the No.1 free app in the iOS store, in both iPhone as well as the iPad categories. A dedicated version has been made available for the iPhone and the iPad, allowing an iPad user to view the browser as well. CNET's Lance Whitney writes, "Chrome now joins Opera, Dolphin, and other browsers as yet another alternative to mobile Safari for iOS users. The Chrome app has also made its splash in the Android world, officially out of beta mode and available through Google Play."

The app offers Mobile Chrome features that include an integrated address and search box, tabbed browsing, as well as the ability to switch the position of tabs. The Incognito feature thats present too lets you browse securely without having your history tracked. If you’re browsing a website on your Android phone using Chrome and then switch to the iPad, you’ll be able to pick up where you left off through Chrome as it will automatically sync all your opened tabs and bookmarks, provided you have signed in of course. It’s also easier to launch ‘Incognito Mode’ right from the menu in the browser rather than having to go to Settings, which is the case in Safari. Chrome also offers to save your passwords. One thing that iOS users will probably never get is the ability to set another browser as the default. This mean's while you can launch and use Chrome on iOS, clicking a link in an e-mail will always open Safari and nothing else. This is something I’m sure iOS users have gotten used to by now.

This version of Chrome for iOS, however, is not the same as the one for the desktop and Android as it still uses Safari’s browser engine as the backend. Google had to make this compromise since it’s the only way they could port the browser to iOS since Apple does not allow any browser in the app store if they don’t use their engine. You can think of Chrome on iOS as a new skin for Safari along with the features that come with Chrome of course. The trade-off here is performance as it’s a lot slower compared to its Android counterpart as it has to use WebKit.

According to this report, "The new app has been garnering rave reviews from the iOS crowd. A peek at the 3,574 ratings tallied so far reveals a full 2,855 users rewarding Chrome with a 5-star thumbs up."

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