Today at the second keynote of Google I/O, Google’s developer conference, the company announced Chrome for iOS, something we’ve all been waiting for. I’ve been able to spend about an hour with the app, and these are my initial thoughts on the most popular modern browser’s arrival on the world’s largest mobile platform.
The overall design of the app is fresh and clean, just like the desktop version of Chrome. There are a few rough edges, such as the options dropdown menu, and the default iOS model, but the app is solidly designed. I especially like the little details, such as the glowing progress bar on the iPhone.
Compared to Safari, Chrome is a very good browser, and better in some areas. The best feature of Chrome, the omnibar, is included, something which Safari still doesn’t have. Another particularly helpful feature is ’request desktop site’ button, which loads the desktop view for sites that specifically target mobile devices. Incognito browsing is also present, and it doesn’t require tapping through multiple menus, or in Safari’s case, another app. You simply tap the dropdown menu icon, and select new incognito tab. Bookmarking works great too, but I wish there was an option to import bookmarks from Safari. Google is touting syncing as the app’s main feature, and it works quite well. Just sign in with your Google account credentials, and your bookmarks, history, and tabs will be present on all your devices, updated automatically.
Chrome has finally arrived on iOS, and with a strong start. There are a few minor details that need to be resolved with in the next update, but they all have to do with images, not core functionality. If you’re looking for an alternative to Safari, or if you’re a die-hard Chrome user on your desktop, then Chrome for iOS is a must-have for your Apple device. Get it now, for the low price of free.