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Friday June 29, 2012 3:45 pm

Google Chrome for iOS review

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Google, Internet, Software

Google Chrome iOS review

Google Chrome for iOS was announced during the Google I/O 2012 keynote on day 2, bringing Google's popular browser to the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Well, kind of.

You see, Chrome for iOS isn't really Google Chrome as far as the rendering of web pages goes. It's no different than any other third-party or in-app browser in iOS. In a nutshell, it's a wrapper for WebKit. Even more disappointing, only Mobile Safari gets to use the souped-up version of WebKit on iOS, featuring the Nitro engine. Third-party apps don't get access to Nitro, which means that web pages will load noticeably slower if they've got Javascript in them. So, what exactly does Chrome for iOS have to offer? Let's take a look.

So, actual web page rendering aside, here's what the app has done to make Chrome users feel at home. First, the look is totally Google. Browser tabs are above the URL bar on the iPad for example, while on the iPhone they arrange themselves into rows. You also get the "Find in Page" feature, as well as Incognito mode.

Another great Chrome feature, the omnibar, makes its appearance on iOS as well. This is the URL bar that also doubles as a web search bar. You also get Chrome tab syncing. That means that all your open tabs and history are available across all your devices. If you are browsing on your desktop and leave, you can open up Chrome for iPad and open the same tabs. Then you can pick up your iPhone later and continue where you left off. Then back to a Windows or Mac with Chrome, and your iOS activity will be there, synced and ready for you to use.

So if you're a Chrome user on your desktop, you'll certainly wanna grab the free iOS app to enhance your experience. It actually feels like Google spent some time on this one so that the experience would be great for the end user (unlike the abysmal iOS Gmail app launch.) In fact, in the event that the app crashes, upon restore you are offered the opportunity to restore all the tabs you had open in the previous session. You even get easy access to typical symbols you need to use when browsing, right above the typical keyboard, so you don't have to hunt for the colon, period, hyphen, forward slash, or .com.

At the end of the day, Chrome is a browser. If you can stand that it is slower than Mobile Safari on Javascript-heavy pages, then you'll wanna get this one right away to start playing with it. You'll get access to pretty much everything you love about Chrome for the desktop on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

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