Google’s Chrome browser is fast, synchronous, and pushing other browsers to speed up and innovate. Chrome doubled in active users between 2011 and 2012. And, despite public enmity between Google and Apple, Chrome is now available on iPhones and iPads.
Why Chrome wins the web on your Apple screen
Beyond having one browser across every device, Chrome’s interface is quite a bit nicer than Mobile Safari. A button allows for opening up your multiple tabs like a small stack of cards, fanned out from top to bottom. Open a new tab, and you can quickly jump to your most-visited sites, your bookmarks, or that weird, semi-magic list of all your other devices’ tabs. It runs smoothly, and even with a 3G connection, sites you’ve visited before seem to load a bit faster than they would anywhere else.
If nothing else, consider technologist Andy Baio’s point: Chrome for iOS allows you to “Request desktop site.” Tap two times, and the ineffective, ugly mobile site you were automatically redirected to will flip into a web page that you can read.
Why to keep Chrome off your iDevice
If you use Chrome on your desktop, or even on another device running Android, Chrome for iOS is probably worth it. But there are caveats. Here are a few Chrome-beating what-ifs:
You open a lot of links from Twitter, email, or other apps: Unless you want to jailbreak your device and make some tweaks, there’s no way to make your iPhone treat Chrome as the default browser. That means everything you open from a link outside of Chrome opens in Mobile Safari, and to get it into Chrome, you have to copy the link, either from the app or from Safari’s address bar. That can get old quick.
You’re a MacBook Air owner: It’s probably a temporary annoyance, but right now, Chrome is making MacBook Air laptops crash, and crash hard. If the Air is your primary laptop, it’s probably not worth it to run Chrome on it, and Chrome on iOS isn’t quite worth it without the syncing experience.
You keep your phone or tablet unlocked and available to others: Chrome makes it easy to switch to the no-tracking, no-judgement Incognito Mode, but that’s a distinct choice you have to make. Chrome’s convenience stems directly from its memory, its guesses about what you’re searching for, and its deep reach into your bookmarks and most visited sites. If that’s not something you want everybody to have a chance to browse through, especially on an iPad, Chrome isn’t a browser to keep on your main home page. That, or start locking your device.
You love your Reading List: Apple’s text-converting, page-saving Reading List is built into Safari on the Mac and on iOS devices, and it syncs through your free iCloud account. There are many alternatives, but if you like Reading List, or have built up a history in it, Chrome won’t pick that up.
Privacy concerns over Google having all that data: It’s easy to see why Google’s one-login-for-all-your-data methodology might keep you off Chrome on your iOS device. But it’s also somewhat moot if you’re already using Chrome elsewhere.