When Google announced that the Chrome browser was coming to iOS last month, I installed it as quickly as it became available. It’s not that I’m a dedicated fan of the Chrome browsing experience or Google as a whole, but a number of features available to users of the mobile Chrome browser pushed it over the top for me and I haven’t looked back once.
Over all, the Chrome browser available on iOS and Android is very much like the full-featured desktop browser. It handles just about every page I throw at it the same way it would if I had it pulled up on my Mac or PC, and everything stays in sync between the various platforms in much the same way. In short, it’s exactly the experience I’d hope to have with a mobile browser.
I have a whole list of bookmarks on my desktop browsers that I dread having to sync between my desktop and mobile phone. Since Chrome is my primary browser on the desktop, it’s only natural that I’d hope my Chrome bookmarks could sync with my mobile browser. Thanks to Chrome for iOS and Android, it’s really not a problem at all.
For those of you that are using the mobile Chrome browser and are scratching your head at this, just take a look at your bookmarks folders from the mobile browser and switch from using the mobile bookmarks to the desktop bookmarks. All of your bookmarks should be there.
Sync happens very quickly, too. I added a bookmark on my desktop to test and it appeared right away on my mobile Chrome install on Android. Very snappy.
Let’s face it, nothing is more embarrassing than having a buddy borrow your phone or tablet to look something up really quick only to discover that you have some interesting search queries going on in your mobile browser. Let’s not even get into what can happen of that curious friend goes into your history. Enter Incognito Mode, a truly useful feature for anyone that finds themselves searching WebMD for the potential cause of that curious rash that cropped up between their toes.
Let’s face it, having a little extra privacy is a good thing. My phone and tablet get passed around more than a ping pong ball at a beer pong tournament. Knowing that I have the option to use the same mode I have available on the desktop is a good thing.
Send to Mobile and View Open Tabs
Thanks to an extension created by Google, you can activate Send to Mobile which enables you to send a page directly to your mobile device(s) from your desktop with a single click. If you’re in a rush and don’t want to search for the page you’re on while out and about, you can simply click the Send to Mobile button and head out the door knowing the page will be there when you pull your phone out of your pocket and fire up Chrome for Android or iOS.
View Open Tabs is another great feature enabling you to sync open tabs between your desktop and mobile browsers. If you have multiple pages you’re working with, you don’t have to set the tabs back up in the mobile browser. It just syncs, and that’s very useful.
I am very forgetful when it comes to passwords, and I should be with over 200 sites in my LastPass account alone. It’s crazy how many sites require a username and login these days. In leu of using a special fork of mobile Safari with the LastPass app, I can opt to utilize the same password-remembering features of the desktop version of Google Chrome on my mobile browser. Even if I’ve never used a password on the mobile browser before, it’s there and ready for me thanks to sync.
I find myself constantly having to check on things from my phone which require a username and password to access. Whether I’m at the mall responding to a work-related text message or at a buddy’s house, it’s great knowing I don’t have to go through the hassle of searching for the password with my password management service prior to getting what I need to do done.
There is a downside here if you don’t do things like lock your phone when you’re not using it. Your passwords are synced on the mobile browser, and that’s not the greatest idea if you hate locking your phone (or the apps within).
Especially on the tablet version of Chrome for iOS, the interface is extremely familiar if you use Chrome. It’s not hard to find your way around most mobile browsers, but a lot of average users will enjoy having what amounts to the same experience on one platform as they have one another. Google has maintained roughly the same design philosophy behind the two browsers, and that’s a good thing.
I’m not saying it’s the best design out there. Certainly, there are browsers with sleek interfaces and incredibly intuitive methods of operation. The point here is consistency, and for an average user that doesn’t want to learn the nuances of each system, this is a difficult bonus to overlook.
It could be my own personal tastes (which is why this is an opinion piece rather than a biased review pretending not to be) but I actually really like this browser, especially compared to the default browsers found on both Android and iOS. I wish I knew why desktop and mobile operating systems tend to ship with browsers that just don’t work as well as some of their third-party counterparts. At least Google got one thing right in deciding to make Chrome for Android the default (included) browser in Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.