Google Chrome for iPhone and iPad

Google announced Chrome for iPhone and iPad at Google I/O, Google Chrome is the long-awaited browser on iOS. Google announced Chrome for iOS after Android Chrome is out of beta. Android version of Chrome is available on Ice Cream Sandwich and up, that means little more than 7% of the Android devices out there. But Chrome for iOS will run on iOS 4.3 and up that puts it on many iPhone and iPad devices.

Chrome for iOS is now available on Appstore for download. Not surprisingly it became chart topper in free apps category on the appstore within hours after it was announced and available for download. That speaks about the need for alternative browsers on iPhone other than Safari.

Advantages of Chrome on iOS: If you are a user of Chrome on desktop or on a Android device, it makes lot of sense to download and use Chrome for iOS. The main advantage of Chrome over iOS is it’s ability to sync data between all devices including desktop, Android. You can take all your bookmarks, open tabs, saved passwords and settings to your iPhone or iPad.

When you first open the browser it will ask you to sign-in to Chrome, this will allow the app to get all your data from other devices. You will see the same features as seen in Android version of the browser. The Omnibar is present that allows searching as well as entering URLs. You can go to incognito mode, access open tabs from other devices, open new tab and bookmarks by clicking on the three line-icon on the top right corner. The icon next to it allow you to see all the open tabs, you can open unlimited tabs unlike Mobile Safari. To navigate between the open tabs you can “edge swipe” (swipe from the edge of the page) like on Android.

Disadvantages of Chromeon iOS: Using Chrome on iOS has some disadvantages, like it can’t be set as the default browser in iOS due to Apple’s restrictions on third party browsers. That means opening links from applications like Twitter, or from messages will take you to Safari still, that can be  frustrating experience for Chrome fans.

Chrome has slick UI but it is not as fast as the mobile safari on iOS, particularly with the JavaScript heavy sites. Although it doesn’t seem to be very slow, just behind Safari, for most of the sites you won’t feel the difference. It is due to the fact that third party browsers doesn’t have access to the Nitro JavaScript Engine that the mobile safari has. Chrome uses the UIWebView, a pre-Nitro version. Chrome is not significantly different than mobile safari as it uses the same rendering engine as Safari with Google Chrome UI and some unique functions such as Sync between devices.

Apple may not allow in the near future to set third-party browsers as a default browser on iPhone or iPad, this may be a limitation for many to use Chrome as the browser of choice in iOS. But for Chrome fans it may not matter much, as it offers some unique functions like seamless Syncing between devices and unlimited tabs and a slick UI.

Download Chrome for iPhone and iPad, Google Blog