Hot on the heels of rolling out the improved Drive app with spreadsheet editing capabilities, Google today also refreshed its excellent Chrome browser for the iPhone and iPad. Google Chrome version 23.0.1271.91 (seriously? what’s up with the versioning scheme?) is now available for download, bringing with it support for Apple’s Passbook app on iOS 6 devices, better handling of PDF documents in external applications, new text encoding setting and more. Jump past the fold for your changelog and more tidbits…

You can now open PDFs in external apps, turn on text encoding detection in settings if you’re seeing garbled characters on certain sites and save your boarding passes and tickets to Apple’s PassBook app.

Google writes in a blog post that an update prompt inside of Chrome may pop up for those forgetting to apply the new version from the App Store.

Known issues are available on the Chrome support site.

Chrome for Android was also updated with some bug fixes.

Google Chrome version 23.0.1271.91 release notes

• open PDFs in other apps
• save your boarding passes and tickets with PassBook
• seeing garbled characters? Turn on text encoding detection in settings.
• stability and security improvements
• many bug fixes

As always, Chrome is a free universal binary download from the App Store.

Regardless of your feelings about the whole Apple-Google chick fight, there’s no reason to avoid Chrome.

It’s arguably the best third-party browser on the iPhone and iPad and it though it doesn’t take advantage of Javascript optimizations available in the Safari browser (there’s a tweak for that!), it beats Apple’s stock offering with great syncing capabilities, awesome tabbed browsing implementation and other perks.

Jeff took it for a spin so do check out his video review if you haven’t already.

Which browser do you prefer on mobile, Apple’s Safari or Google’s Chrome?