Google takes aim at Safari, allegedly readying Chrome for iOS

By , May 15, 2012

Color me skeptical, but I’m still scratching my head over over a surprising report by Macquarie analyst Ben Schacter which has it that Google’s Chrome browser is coming to iOS some time during the June quarter of this year or, if not, then “definitely this year”.

If true, this would be a big news as Chrome ended 2011 within spitting distance of market-leading Internet Explorer. Heck, it even overtook Microsoft’s product to become the world’s most popular browser for a day and is certainly expected to become the top browser this year.

The big question is, will Apple allow Chrome into the App Store and let Google own all the searches? Bear in mind that the search giant currently pays Apple an estimated 60 percent revenue share for the searches done through Safari’s search box…

The analyst suggested that Apple may already be reviewing Google’s submitted code. I find it hard to believe for a number of reasons.

Apple’s guidelines for iOS development mandate that third-party browsers use the WebKit framework. Custom rendering engines such as Mozilla’s Gecko are a big no-no. Due to this policy, mobile Firefox is nowhere to be seen on the iOS platform.

Chrome’s and Safari’s engines are nothing alike and I doubt Google would agree to re-write Chrome for iOS on UIWebView. Apple is also unlikely to relax its policies just to give preferential treatment to a rival browser.

Of course, I could be wrong and the two rivals may have found an amicable solution.

Another problem: there’s currently no way to set your default browser in iOS. This is pretty annoying because any link tapped in another app, say Mail, takes one to Safari instead of a third-party browser, in this case Chrome.

The analyst also expects a major marketing campaign to push Chrome for iOS. Here, check out Google’s Chrome advert starring Lady GaGa.

Both Safari and Chrome are WebKit-based. In recent testing, both Chrome for Android and Safari for iOS scored a perfect 100 on the Acid3 test, which measures a browser’s ability to conform to web standards.

I’m also wondering how will Google adapt Chrome’s super-fast V8 Javascript engine under iOS.

Also important: Chrome for iOS wouldn’t just cut out Safari, letting Google keep all of the revenue it generates, it would potentially erode Safari’s market share as well.

A beta version of Chrome hit Android devices running Ice Cream Sandwich in February. I’m liking it a lot and have been using it as a default browser on my Galaxy Nexus.

If an iOS version turns out anything like its Android counterpart, I can easily see myself using Safari on my iOS devices less frequently.


Forget iPod nano wrist watches, here comes a Google Chrome one. Kudos to Ade Oshineye, a London-based Developer Advocate at Google in the Google+ Developer Relations, for sharing this image of a Chrome watch in a blue band, adorned with a metal background and chrome logos for the hour signs.

I’m a heavy Chrome for Mac user. Chrome for iOS would theoretically let me have all of my bookmarks, history, settings and other data synchronized across my Macs and iOS devices. This includes the ability to continue browsing on my iPhone right where I left off on my Mac, down to open tabs and the most recently visited sites.

Of course, there are certainly plenty of third-party browsers for the iOS platform. I typically use Apple’s own Safari, but often find myself using Skyfire for its integrated social features as well as Mercury and Alexander Clauss’s iCab, both offering a bunch of advanced features and customization options.

As for my favorite Safari replacement, it’s the awesome Dolphin browser which has a huge Android following and comes with just the right features, cool gestures, clean interface and speedy performance.

Are you excited about Chrome for iOS?

What’s your favorite Safari replacement on iOS?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1368694057 Jean Claude Tohme

    Hell yeah !!!! Bring it with flash support. Would be extremely awesome!!!! I’m so excited about an app for the 1st time of my life. Go Google!!

    • http://twitter.com/MCaudebec Maxim∑

      Yeah and drain the battery in 1 hour to!

      • Anonymous

        to what….? #trollng

    • http://twitter.com/Nullbrand Niclas Ullbrand

      Flash on IOS ain’t gonna happen. Not now, not ever.

      • Anonymous

        Hope your’e right.

    • http://www.galaxytabs.com Kyle Dornblaser

      Chrome on Android doesn’t even support flash because Adobe is stopping development of flash for mobile devices

  • http://twitter.com/MattGregg97 Matt ッ

    Dolphin browser by far

    • Anonymous

      There is Dolphin for iOS?!

      • Anonymous

        Lmao…it’s been around for months

  • http://twitter.com/iNsaneOS i(Nsane)OS

    For a while now, I’ve been wanting Chrome instead of Safari. Apple would never make it default, but thanks to BrowserChanger in Cydia, that will be easy and you could always hide Safari.app. I’m very much looking forward to this, as Google Chrome has been my default browser on my PC for years and I’ve converted friends, family, clients and people online to switch to Google Chrome. I am happy to hear this and will be watching its progress for now on. I hope it syncs my bookmarks and includes extensions somewhat. Thank you for the good news.

  • Anonymous

    Damn it! I still have to wait to upgrade to ICS on my Galaxy (which could take months), and they’re already thinking of releasing it for iOS!

    I hate those Samsung IDIOTS.

    • http://twitter.com/Ray___________M Ray________________M

      I miss my s2 sometimes did it ever get a ICS upgrade?

      • Anonymous

        Not yet :'( Some have received the update (Vodafone, SIM free users) but not me.

    • http://twitter.com/Ray___________M Ray________________M

      I miss my s2 sometimes did it ever get a ICS upgrade?

    • http://www.iTechBlog.in/ taran

      thats why i love apple…apple always remeber their customers for years…samsung sells a handset and forget…:/

      • Vid Logar

        complety agree

  • http://twitter.com/Fi2o Brian Emil

    Chrome and Safari both use WebKit.

  • http://twitter.com/Ray___________M Ray________________M

    I really hope chrome comes to iOS, REALLY

  • http://twitter.com/Ray___________M Ray________________M

    I really hope chrome comes to iOS, REALLY

  • http://www.facebook.com/nogggin1 Ned Perkins

    Chrome uses webkit so that won’t cause them a problem, as for apples policies I don’t see which ones it would break and it’s been on ICS for a couple of months now so they obviously have a vision for a mobile app. I don’t see any reason this couldn’t work, even the problem with defaults isn’t huge, apps are beginning to have options to open in other apps so why can’t google just allow chrome:// in to open pages in chrome, lots of apps I’ve seen already have that as a feature. (mostly file downloading apps)

  • http://www.facebook.com/nogggin1 Ned Perkins

    Chrome uses webkit so that won’t cause them a problem, as for apples policies I don’t see which ones it would break and it’s been on ICS for a couple of months now so they obviously have a vision for a mobile app. I don’t see any reason this couldn’t work, even the problem with defaults isn’t huge, apps are beginning to have options to open in other apps so why can’t google just allow chrome:// in to open pages in chrome, lots of apps I’ve seen already have that as a feature. (mostly file downloading apps)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Singhavi-Vaibhav/100000613021641 Singhavi Vaibhav

    That is Awesome News, Bring Chrome To IOS

  • Anonymous

    Is that the real Lady GaGa or a transvestite dressed as her?

    Either way, YUCK.

  • KewlDewd

    Anxious to see how Chrome compares to Safari.

    “June quarter”? Are there only 4 months in a year now?

  • Anonymous

    Definitely Dolphin, and no I’m not really excited about chrome for ios, but if it ever comes, I hope it’ll be good.

  • http://twitter.com/andrew8621 Andres Marrero

    Google, just drop it. I dont use a different browser on my mac let alone my idevice! I only keep google chrome on my mac but thats just in case, my main browser will always be Safari.

    • Vid Logar

      my too

    • http://twitter.com/thehayhorse Hayden Jenkins

      safari sucks…chrome is awesome. bring it google!

  • http://twitter.com/OfficialJayhits Justin Jones

    I think google for iOS will bring flash and also a pretty UI.

  • http://twitter.com/sud0plex sud0plex

    I hope it’s gonna be quicker than safari.

  • http://www.GoldenGateDomains.com/ Golden Gate Domains

    I’m skeptical after Google illegally disabled Safari’s Privacy Settings just to reep Ad revenue!!!

    So, based on that alone, I find it very difficult that Apple will “relax” anything Google!!!

    Especially now that Apple is (rumored) going to give the boot to Google Maps and Launch iOS 6 with Apple’s own Maps.

    Lastly, I do hate the fact there is no preference setting to chose your default browser in iOS – I use OPERA when I have the choice. (maybe that will be one of the many new “enhancements” for iOS 6???)

    But, in my dream of DREAMS, I’d love… LOVE it if FireFox had an iOS Browser!!! C’est la vie!

  • http://twitter.com/RawkingWithTFK Thomas C. Gehman

    Chrome is awesome!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/RawkingWithTFK Thomas C. Gehman

    Chrome is awesome!!!!

  • http://adam.hbang.ws/ Adam D

    If Chrome is released for iOS, Google can’t push out new HTML features like they can on desktop and Android; Apple needs to do that in a new iOS update.

    One thing I’m curious of, though, is how some APIs will work, such as the notification API, which allows both text-only and full HTML toast notifications. The text ones can be pushed to the device easily, but what about the HTML notifications?

    Ad@m

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been using Atomic Web Browser with Cydia’s BrowserChanger and love it. Is Dolphin better yet? I’m installing it now.

  • Anonymous

    Speculation is stupid.
    How, exactly, does an analyst speculating that Chrome will come to iOS equate to “Google…allegedly readying Chrome for iOS”

    as Redmond Pie said… “Google Chrome Web Browser For iPhone and iPad Will Reportedly Drop Within A Few Weeks”

    I would love to have my Chrome bookmarks on my iOS devices, but how can this “analyst” influence Google or Apple (allowing it) ?