Google Just Made Chrome for iOS Faster and More Efficient (AAPL, GOOG)
The new and updated features, while not groundbreaking, are significant.
They include an accessible history, improved voice search, upgraded text-to-speech, and a full screen mode on the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad.
You can also now choose to link to a number of Google services, including Google Maps, YouTube, Google+ and Google Drive. The apps, of course, have to be installed on your iOS device in order for this feature to work. MacWorld said Google promised that options for links to even more apps are coming.
While this move is a welcome improvement for users, it doesn’t hurt Google’s attempts to create its own computing environment within iOS. As MacWorld reported, iOS still won’t allow you to establish Chrome as your default browser or Gmail as your default email program, but if you use a number of Google apps on a regular basis, this change at least makes using them easier.
The improvements also acknowledge the reality that Apple and its iOS powered smartphones still lead sales in the mobile world.
Another major change is the addition of a data compression feature. Data compression allows web pages to load faster and reduces the use of bandwidth. A secondary advantage, according to Google, is added browsing security.
MacWorld speculated that the data compression is similar to that used by Opera and Amazon.com’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) browser app, both of which compress data on their servers before transferring it to your smartphone.
All this leads to additional speculation that your Internet traffic would go through Google’s servers before you see it – an obvious security issue for some.
The improvements to Chrome for iOS come on the heels of similar upgrades to the Android version, announced in May at Google’s I/O developers’ conference, according to PCWorld.
Chrome for Android (works with smartphones having Ice Cream Sandwich and above) now has improved file compression based on the systems already in place in the desktop version of Chrome.
According to Google, the data compression feature – which is rolling out over time – will eventually be available on all devices and to all users. The company said users would be able to monitor their data savings in the app’s bandwidth management settings.
Brian Blau, an analyst with Gartner noted, "Google is working to make the Web experience better even as it promotes its own app store," adding that the web tends to get left behind on mobile even though it’s an important means of communication and obtaining information.
IDC analyst John Jackson told PC Magazine that, "Anything the operating system or distribution platform owners can do to curtail data traffic, while preserving the integrity of mobile data experiences, is a good thing.
In early trading Thursday, shares of Google were down $2.84 at $915.71 and shares of Apple were trading at $433.87, up $3.56.
At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.
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