Google’s Chrome browser has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity and now has 310 million active users worldwide, according to a keynote during Googe’s I/O in San Francisco. A growing proportion of these users are on mobile devices. Indeed, in its most recent version, Android is utilising Chrome as its default mobile web browser. Still, only a mere 7% of Android devices are able to run Chrome – it is only compatible with Android 4.0.
The amount of Chrome usage is set to increase even further after its arrival on the world’s most popular tablet and phone – the iPad and iPhone. Chrome’s desktop launch proved highly successful, resulting in Microsoft Internet Explorer’s market share falling from 67% to 37%. Google are hoping to repeat that success against Apple’s Safari browser.
So what’s so special about Chrome on iOS? While it uses the same core engine as Safari, Google have worked hard on creating a much tighter relationship between mobile and desktop usage. With the press of a button (well, more likely a touch of the screen), users will be able to access the last web pages accessed on their desktop through their smartphone.
This basically means that the desktop and phone browser will be synchronised, increasing interoperability. This also means that any bookmarks saved on Chrome’s desktop version will be available on the mobile version simultaneously. The fact that Chrome uses Safari’s WebKit engine may well prove a major disadvantage, however. It will never be able to overtake its major rival in terms of speed and all flash content will be off-limits.
Chrome will also have to fight off stiff competition from several other browsers, not just Safari. Opera, Dolphin and Skyfire are all successful with a loyal fan base. However, analysts seem to agree that Chrome has a good shot at dominating the mobile browser market – its ‘in-app browsing’, sleek appearance, and exceptional interaction with its desktop counterpart are highly appealing features. It seems that Apple’s user base agrees – not long after its launch, Chrome rocketed to the top of the free apps chart in U.S. the App Store.
imagenote: Taylor Shomaker/Wikimedia/cc