Google’s New iOS Repertoire

SOURCE: The Verge

A mere few weeks after Apple took a good jab at Google and their very future on iOS, Google finally released two long-awaited apps that users have been clamoring for. Yesterday the search giant’s famed web browser, Chrome hit the App Store alongside the iOS version of the cloud storage service, Drive.

While there’s still that stigma with third-party browsers on iOS not being able to be set as a default browser, that didn’t stop Google from releasing what is probably the best browser available for the iPhone and iPad. Google Drive, while useful, leaves a little to be desired. Unlike its rival, Dropbox, new files cannot be added via the app — and thus there is no Google Docs-like functionality in this app either.

While I didn’t do a lot of poking around in the Drive app, the fact that there’s a mobile version of the app for iOS, means I can finally stop using Dropbox. I’ve been a Dropbox user for a couple of years now. I’ve also tried my hand at Microsoft’s foray into cloud storage; Skydrive, Live Mesh (when I used Windows and OSX simultaneously), and Skydrive again since Microsoft had also recently released an iOS app. My only real use for the Dropbox app was to view files — mainly PDFs, which iOS seems to handle fairly well.

Now for Google Chrome on iOS. I’m a heavy Safari user on both Mac and iOS. I’ve used Chrome for Windows and Mac extensively in the past, but things like Reading List and bookmark syncing in Safari via iCloud make using Safari a nice experience across platforms. I’ve always thought that Safari on Mac needed a visual overhaul, which we’ll see in OSX Lion in Safari 6. Chrome was a very slick, quick, and good looking browser on OSX. The same can be said for Chrome’s iOS counterpart.

I’ve probably only used two other browsers for iOS worth mentioning; Opera and Mercury’s free browser. Opera, which handles tabs much like Chrome does was slow, choppy, and the rendering and look of pages was very mediocre. Mercury, while decent seems a little too utilitarian for my taste — think an Android-style app on iOS. Chrome is by far the best I’ve used yet. Tabs are handled in a great way, the app moves and reacts very smoothly and quickly.

When you’re in the tabs mode, you can easily swipe tabs to trash them, or when in regular viewing mode, swipe left or right over the screen to navigate between tabs. Google has also integrated its Incognito feature for private browsing. It separates these kinds of tabs to the right of your normal tabs. I’m not sure if Google has put a limit on the amount of tabs that can be opened. I just quickly tried opening as many tabs as I could as a test, and lets just say I’ve got 22 normal tabs and four more Incognito tabs running with no crashing. Granted 15 of those tabs have no pages loaded, it’s nice to know that there is no cap on how many can be open. That is compared to Safari’s eight tab limit.

This is only another step in Apple’s journey to rid iOS of native Google dependency. Maps will no longer use Google’s services in iOS 6, so it looks like the only thing Google will offer iOS is Safari search — but let’s not forget, Apple easily provides access to Yahoo and Bing for search as well. Google on the other hand seems unperturbed and is eager to continue developing decent app for its mobile OS competitor, iOS.

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