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iPad, iPhone, IT

Review: Google Chrome for iOS

It’s been a long time in coming but here, finally, is Google Chrome for iOS!
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But have the years of waiting been worthwhile?
Have Google Succeeded where all the others have failed?

Browsers on iOS:

The default browser, of course, is the iOS version of Safari. Mobile Safari does, in appearance at least, seem to lag a few years behind the other main browsers. Privacy mode is an all or nothing option. Many pages render awkwardly. zooming is hit and miss. But it does mostly do a good job.
It’s underwhelming but I always seem to end up using Safari over any other browser, free or paid.
| still have several privacy concerns over Opera, plus it seem very poor at rendering larger pages.
Atomic does well enough and so does Mercury, which at least has easily obtained Privacy tabs.
But there is a little special something missing. I always end up using Safari.
I don’t expect a “wow” from a browser but it would be nice to be surprised in some small way. Sometimes.

Google Chrome:

Perhaps this is the browser to achieve that little something extra?
The first thing you see when you load Chrome is that now famous “T&C“, Terms and Conditions. Nearly all Google products have the same or very similar so just have a read. I’d recommend that you don’t select the “Help to make Google Chrome better…” option, leave that to us more adventurous techies.
Simply click “Accept & Continue” and you’re in.
Google do a lot of things well. In recent years design isn’t one of them. Google Apps for example has just gone through an unnecessary reshuffle that has many users annoyed as there is no option to revert to the old look.
But there’s an instant “that’s interesting” event with Chrome.
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See those two “bubble” helps? Well they’re bouncing up and down, clamouring for your attention. A nice touch.

Controls:

As that page indicates there are four simple controls:

  • Back
  • Forward
  • Address / Search bar
  • Chrome Menu
  • Open Tabs

Okay, that’s five but that’s because Forward is hidden until relevant, which is not true of Back.

Address / Search Bar:

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Once you start using Chrome, you’ll be impressed with something Chrome for PC has been doing well for quite a while. Inline autocomplete and search.
Very fast and fluid, this feature is a real time saver in most instances.
For example, I watch BBC Breakfast and see an article on the Disney movie Brave and its effect on Scottish tourism and want to look it up…
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I still find that impressive.

Open Tabs:

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Checking up on what’s loaded is simply a matter of clicking the button at the top right.
There are all your open tabs, or pages. What really impresses here is the way the tabs act like slide cards. Grab the title of a tab and pull it down and a little preview appears. You can chose how much you drag it down to show less of the preview if you wish allowing more tabs to be listed at once.
A little number increments each time you open a new tab. This got me thinking: how many can you open?
This is impressive. In fact I got bored after 16 tabs. Remember – this is a mobile phone.
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Admittedly a powerful one but still…

Chrome Menu:

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Some simple options, including access to Settings, are available at all times from the Chrome Menu. Importantly,this includes the option to load an Incognito tab. This is the “private” mode where the page is not cached.
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The exact features of the Incognito mode need investigation, to see how effective it really is.
Another nice feature though is that once you’ve opened at least one Incognito tab, if you go to Open Tabs, it separates the lists into two lists, one of normal tabs and one of Incognito tabs. Very helpful. Swipe to switch lists.
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Other Features:

Object Menu:

Hold your finger over an image or link and a “popup” menu appears with an excellent set of option.
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Again, very impressive.

Landscape Mode:

Simply works.
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Indeed Tabs are easier to manage.
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Destroy Tabs:

To close any tab, you can of course use the [X] on that tab on the Open Tabs page. Or, if you want more fun you can simply Drag it out of the list…
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And it’s gone.

Recently Closed Tabs:

Simply that. Listed at the bottom of any New Tab.

iPad Version:

Chrome for iPad (it’s actually a Universal App) works identically. Almost. The most noticable differences are that the Tabs are visible along the top at all times.
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Missing Features:

Social Media:

Shockingly, the only sharing feature available is “Email“.
Not even “Google+” or the iOS integrated Twitter.

Refresh Page:

Not available on the iPhone but is on the iPad.

Quick Close Tab:

Again, not available on the iPhone but is on the iPad.

Overview:

You may have already guessed.
I am very pleased with this Browser. Chrome is very nearly what all iOS browsers (take note Apple / Safari) should be. Yes, they have a few minor issues to iron out but this is the products debut on this platform. The sharing facilities need to be built in though fairly quickly in my opinion. I know a lot of websites do this for you but I want the control in the browser please.
Certainly I will be using Chrome for iOS where I can. The browser is smooth and fast and has had considerable thought put into it.

Rating:

Impressive. Four Stars – 🌟🌟🌟🌟

About harlekwinblog

"Thoughts of an idle mind." Information Security professional.

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