Google continued its string of announcements on Thursday, publicizing the release of its Chrome browser for iOS devices during the company’s ongoing I/O conference for developers. Though iOS developer Apple is in direct competition with Google’s own Android software, Google has rarely taken the approach of limiting its software. Chrome was made available via the iTunes App Store later in the same day, and the announcement earned applause from the crowd of conference goers.
“People have been asking us for this for a long time, but we wanted to make sure we got it right,” Sundar Pichai, Google’s head of Chrome, said during his presentation.
Since its release in late 2008, Chrome has grown to be the most popular browser in the world by several measurements. Currently, the browser has 310 million users worldwide, and a growing mobile user base since the browser was implemented in the newest version of the Android operating system. Despite this, the browser had never been available on the world’s most popular smartphone and tablet until the Thursday release.
Apple is known for restricting third -arty software, specifically software which compromises its base functions. Only Apple’s own Safari browser is able to take advantage of certain tools within iOS devices to support fast web browsing; third party browsers are forced to use an iOS software called UIWeb that displays web content without leaving the app. In comparison, UIWeb is much slower, forcing third party browsers including Chrome to rely on their own servers to load pages quickly.
Though Google spent much of the I/O conference pushing new Android updates and devices (including a new tablet), Thursday’s news showed that the company was not afraid to give its competitor some attention. Google’s Drive App will also make the jump to iOS, allowing Google Docs users to edit their documents both on and offline. Chrome users will be able to sync their bookmarks, history, and even open tabs across devices—meaning that any page left open on a home PC can be immediately opened via a mobile device.