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After an hour of waiting, Apple released the much awaited Google Chrome browser for iOS. While I wasn’t aware Apple allowed 3rd party browsers on iOS, I’m glad Chrome made its way to the App Store. I’ve been using Safari on the iPad 3rd gen but there are some benefits of the Chrome Browser.
Downloading and Setting Up
Couldn’t get any easier. Once downloaded, if you’re not familiar with Chrome, there’s an optional welcome tour that will take you through 5 easy steps:
- Openning and Scrolling Tabs
- Switching Between Tabs
- Sign in
If you have a Chrome and Google account, I recommend signing in. If you have saved bookmarks on another device, signing in will sync all of it for you. Plus, it’ll sync your passwords and omnibox data. Unfortunately, it won’t sync you bookmarks in your Safari iOS browser.
Navagating the Features
I like how they offer an option tour at the start of the app; it’s a wonder why they left that out on the Google Drive app. Once everything is set up, the rest is pretty simple. In the search box, you can type in a full URL or a search query. If you’re typing in a URL, an optional “.com” and other popular symbols appear above the iPad’s keyboard.
Also in the search bar, you have a bookmark (star) and voice search option. The bookmark star is very useful. If you need to create a bookmark at a moment’s notice, press the star and you’ve saved your page. The voice search option is extremely handy. While it doesn’t search within your page, a Google voice search is extremely handy; especially when your hands are full.
Incognito browsing will allow the user to pull up websites and enter in information without the fear of being tracked. Once in Incognito, your web history won’t reflect where you’ve been, nor will the Cookies. You have the option to open up tabs in Incognito or open links in Incognito. When you’re in this mode, a “spy-looking” character will appear in the upper left hand corner.
As I mentioned earlier, the voice search option won’t search within the page you’re viewing, but if you click on the menu button next to the search box, you’ll find that you can open tabs, open Incognito tabs, view bookmarks, request desktop site and find in Page. This is similar to using the Windows shortcut of CTRl + F. Also, requesting a desktop version of a site can be handy, especially when trying to view a page like Google+. Initially, you’ll be directed to the mobile version which is very limited. Requesting a desktop version is much more useful. No hangout abilities but you can view pretty much everything else.
The other aspects of the browser are pretty standard:
Other than the absence of Adobe Flash, everything seems to work the same as the desktop version. As a free browser, you have full access to the web, easy controls and useful synchronization. I would download of you’re on iOS. The browser is faster than Safari and the use of Voice Search wins me over. Get it.