Google Chrome for iPad and iPhone is serious Safari competition
Google Chrome is available for iOS and it is a great alternative to Safari. I spent some time reviewing Chrome on the iOS and here is what I discovered. It is worth downloading and it is becoming my preferred browser for my iPhone and iPad.
Google Chrome for iPad and iPhone
Chrome for iOS has subtle usability and design enhancements that showcase a more modern and innovative UI. It is often the case that browsers that come with an operating system become stale and fall into a state of complacency.
Chrome has a wealth of small usability enhancements that add up to a much better user experience. I am continually pleasantly surprised at the subtle usability tweaks that push the browser over the line from usable to a pleasure to work with.
Apple with Safari and Microsoft with IE have a tendency to update their browsers incrementally while Google has a tendency to disrupt and innovate. Google and Mozilla are both quite comfortable changing their UI significantly from one major release to the next. They are the scrappy kids that gain mindshare and users through innovative because they can't rely on them just being there by default.
Fast and Integrated
The Chrome browser is fast, responsive, and really easy on the eyes, The integrated sign in experience gives you fast access to Google's personalized Chrome experience spanning desktops, laptops, mobile devices, and anywhere you go.
Great First Run Experience
I really appreciate it when usability experts and UI designers take the time to offer a slick first run experience. Google Chrome provides new users with popups and a tour that makes Chrome feel familiar fast.
Google has made sure that the first run experience is concise. The first time training focuses on what may seem unfamiliar to the user such as where Chrome diverges from the out of the box Safari experience.
Search and navigate from the same box. Google's classic dynamic pulldown menu lets you choose results that appear as you type, getting to what you want without loading a full search result page. Chrome has adaptive keyboard layouts that add useful keys and quick shortcuts that speed input significantly.
My favourite features of Chrome for iOS is voice search. The small microphone icon at the right of the search bar activates voice search. Say your search terms and voila. It just works. This feature gives Siri a run for it's money because voice search for Chrome is integrated into the browser and delivers Google search results from their massive search database.
Easy Sign In
Google Chrome offers a great single sign in solution. Most people use Google at least once or twice during an Internet session. Once you are signed in through Chrome you have a rich roaming experience from one Google service to the next.
The sign in extends to other Google Apps you may be using your iPhone or iPad such as Google Current, Google Drive, and Google Current. Chrome offers a tightly integrated Google mobile experience.
Like Safari, Bookmarks are in the Cloud and as you add them to Chrome they appear on other screens when you are logged into your Google account. The bookmark dialogue boxes are laid out in the same way you would expect if you use the desktop version of Chrome. This usability trend continues throughout Chrome for iOS and makes it much easier to use, if you are familiar with the other versions of Chrome.
Amazing Tab Expansion
Chrome has beautiful tabs and tab browsing is as you would expect on Chrome for iOS. The iPhone version has a tab expansion button that lets you view tabs in a beautiful vertical stacked layout. Smooth animations make the visual experience easy on the eyes. It's beautiful.
Private Browsing On A Tab-By-Tab Basis
Chrome lets you browse tabs in private "incognito" mode. This is a great usability enhancement because privacy is not required at all times. Public browsing tends to be more reliable so having the option to use privacy on an occasional basis actually makes more sense.
Safari takes the all-private or all-public approach and offers no tab-based privacy.
Google Chrome for iOS has help pages that look good and the volume of content is scaled appropriately to the screen size of the device. Help does matter and most mobile apps don't offer great help content. Google polished Chrome with excellent mobile help.
One Simple Menu
Chrome for iOS has one simple menu with enough items to be useful.
Why is Chrome Better?
Chrome has many small usability enhancements that add up to a much better browser. Mobile apps are great but sometimes you just need to open a browser and start surfing to get things done. The continuity between the desktop and mobile browsing experience is much cleaner with Chrome when compared to Safari.
Chrome's voice search is a great way to get a Siri experience, especially if you have an older iOS device that doesn't support Siri.
Google search is the most complete search engine out there and voice search for Chrome guarantees a fantastic search experience that will beat Siri hands down.
I highly recommend giving Google Chrome for iOS a try.