Mobile Chrome vs. Mobile Safari on iPad – Shootout

Google ChromeIt’s always nice to have options, especially when it comes to your web browser (even if you can’t change your defaults in iOS which is a major faux pas if you ask this writer). To this end, Google has released mobile Chrome for your iOS devices and the reviews are already pouring in… but before you get too critical, keep in mind that this is the first appearance of the browser on iOS.

Many of the standard Chrome features are present and accounted for with this app, including the ability to login and sync your open tabs, bookmarks, passwords, and omnibox data from your computer across all of your iOS devices.

Being able to run as the default web browser isn’t the only way that Chrome is running at a disadvantage. Google’s signature browser hasn’t been granted access to the super-fast Nitro Javascript engine on iOS. What does that mean? Well it should mean that Chrome will be slower to load pages, but in an “apples to apple” (pun intended) comparison this difference proves to be minimal at best.

If you aren’t sold on the syncing options available in Chrome and you aren’t scared off by the imperceptible speed differences, consider incognito mode –the ability to move into a stealth browsing mode in which “webpages that you open and files downloaded while you are incognito aren’t recorded in your browsing and download histories.”

Aesthetically speaking, your mileage may vary. Safari places their tabbed browsing bar below the location bar, while Chrome places theirs above it. Chrome uses the location bar as a combination URL/search input location, while Safari splits those functions across two input boxes (something that I cursed in the beginning but have grown to appreciate now that I am used to it).

Interface-wise, Chrome offers one distinct advantage that I can see: swiping to change between tabs. This movement is far more intuitive and expected than the Safari method of handling the same activity.

If you like saving your passwords within your browser, Chrome offers this natively while Safari relies on plug-ins to hep with this (not a bad thing in my view). Because of the integrated nature of Safari, many settings are handled through the operating system options and not within the browser app itself –which differs in Chrome of course and may be seen as a whole lot more convenient.

Which browser you use on your mobile device likely depends on which one you are using on your desktop (the syncing features found in Chrome won’t help you much if you are a diehard Safari fan that syncs using iCloud).

Whether you choose to use Chrome or not, the addition of this browser to the App Store shows Google’s continued commitment to being a part of (all of) your Internet activities, without concern for platform. Personally, before I switch away from Safari I’m holding out for two things: Apple to reconsider letting third-party web browsers being set as the default and for Firefox to release a full-featured mobile browser for iOS.

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About Jillian: A professional. A geek. Writer. Music fanatic. Creative. Thoughtful. Programmer. Educated. Outgoing. Thrill seeker. Realistic. Optimist. Clever. Sarcastic. Not typical. Contact me on Twitter: @codeGoddess

  • Mike

    Why does no review seem to mention the best feature of Chrome, on iOS, which is the voice search?