So a few days ago Google announced Google Chrome Beta for Android devices and as soon as I heard about it I immediately found myself in the Android Market downloading the app. Although it’s a relatively large file — 16M versus the Pandora app at 1.7M — and may take a few minutes to download on a 3G connection, from my experience so far, it’s definitely worth a try. Read on to find out why.
Like other add-on browsers such as Opera or Skyfire, Google’s Chrome browser provides additional functionality and speed (although this is debated) than what you may see on the stock smartphone browser pre-installed with the phone. In the past, however, I’ve never been terribly impressed with 3rd party browsers and eventually ended up dumping them, just to switch back to the stock phone browser.
One reason I’m especially excited about the release of Chrome Beta for Android is, well, because I can actually download it. Unfortunately for those users running anything less than Android’s newest OS, Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0, you won’t be able to download the Beta. The good news for users who do have the necessary software, is that the Beta is available both for phone and tablet. No word on iOS versions yet either, but you saw how long Gmail for iOS took, so don’t hold your breath.
Assuming you are lucky enough to be sporting Android 4.0 and you download the app, Google has introduced some great features that help integrate your desktop browsing experience with your mobile browsing experience, relatively seamlessly.
Once you sign-in to Chrome on both your Android device and your desktop, here’s what Chrome can do for you, from Google’s blog post:
- View open tabs: Access the tabs you left open on your computer (also signed into Chrome)—picking up exactly where you left off.
- Get smarter suggestions: If you visit a site often on your computer, you’ll also get an autocomplete suggestion for it on your mobile device, so you can spend less time typing.
- Sync bookmarks: Conveniently access your favorite sites no matter where you are or which device you’re using.
Some people are completely against allowing Google to use their account to track their every move, however, I believe the autocomplete suggestions and bookmark syncing features are worth the risk. As I’m sure many of you are, I’m pretty much constantly on the move and a lot of the time our smartphones just lack the ease and agility of our desktop set-ups; I believe this is a step in the right direction towards addressing that problem.
It doesn’t seem like Google is stopping here, however, they close their blog post with this, “we look forward to working closely with the developer community to create a better web on a platform that defines mobile.” Google confirms this sentiment on their Chromium blog, “We’ve got a lot more planned to make Chrome as feature-rich on mobile devices as it is on the desktop.”
Check-out the screenshots and let us know what you think of Chrome Beta for Android!