Chrome for iOS 44 iPhone screenshot 001

File this one under the “better late than never” drawer. It only took like nearly two years since iOS 7’s debut but Google has at long last given users of its Chrome for iOS browser the ability to swipe right or left to navigate backward or forward.

The iPhone and iPad browser, now bumped to version 44.0.2403.65, also brings stability improvements and bug fixes while laying the groundwork for another major feature addition: Physical Web integration in the Notification Center’s Today view.

Physical what?

Before we get to that, I should also mention that Chrome recently picked up another interesting productivity boost: when you pull to refresh, the app presents three icons across the top of the screen.

You can then swipe to the left to create a new tab, release the finger to refresh the webpage or swipe to the right to close the current tab. And when swiping during pull-to-refresh, the blue circle gets animated as seen below, producing a neat effect.

Chrome for iOS 44 iPhone screenshot 002

As for the Physical Web initiative, 9to5Mac explains that this technology takes advantage of Google’s recently announced Eddystone beacon technology and the new Proximity Beacon APIs in order to push information to devices over Bluetooth transmitters.

And with Chrome for iOS now supporting Physical Web, nearby devices can send various type of information, including marketing messages, directly to the Notification Center’s Today view on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, provided you’ve enabled Chrome’s widget in the Notification Center.

Google Eddystone teaser 001

According to Google, Eddystone works much like Apple’s iBeacon standard. But unlike Apple’s technology, Eddystone is designed to be used by a wide range of manufacturers that build inexpensive Bluetooth transmitters, making it easier for devices in close proximity to communicate.

Billed as “an open, scalable beacon format to quickly deploy real-world context to applications,” Eddystone uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons to communicate with devices, using precise location and contextual cues within apps to “help you navigate the world.”

A cross-platform technology, Eddystone is capable of supporting Android, iOS or any platform that supports BLE beacons. The Eddystone language that physical beacon hardware uses to communicate is available as an open source project on Github.

What’s more, existing Bluetooth transmitters can be made compatible with Eddystone through a simple firmware update. Last but not least, Google has provided a new Nearby API that takes advantage of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and inaudible sounds to determine the proximity between devices in order to facilitate frictionless sharing of messages.

The Nearby API joins the existing Nearby Beacon API for Android and iOS. The Nearby API is included in Google Play services 7.8 and coming to iOS soon.

Google Eddystone example 001

Google’s blog post details some of the use cases for the technology, including DJs publishing playlists to people around them, finding and comparing podcasts with others around you, permitting anyone to join in the game on a nearby Android TV set using their Android or iOS devices as control pads and much more.

Download Chrome for iOS free in the App Store.

  • David Pomerleau

    I just want an easier way to access bookmarks/favorites in Chrome. Two taps in top right corner of 6 plus is too much!

    • ticky13

      Two taps?!! How do you survive the day? My God!

  • :D

    I love your blog, but please, don’t start writing like a teenager.

  • TL;DR was necessary after 5th paragraph.

  • Welcome to 2010, Google.


    So does chrome use the nitrous engine now

    • coLin


    • Guy

      No, which makes safari a better option on iOS devices. Desktop is a different story.

      • yourmomsbox

        the only reason to use chrome on ios is to sync bookmarks and password on all the platforms, and i can think of lots of better alt than safari, such as puffin and opera mini, which compress web pages and use less data. even chrome has data compression i think safari is just crap lol

      • Guy

        I agree to a with you on some point. In till Apple opens its JavaScript and let’s us choose our default browser. Safari will always be best for iOS.

  • James G

    Still won’t make me switch from Safari. But at least I won’t get annoyed when my wife hands me her phone with Chrome open.

  • techfreak23

    Not that I use Chrome on my iPhone anymore (or my desktop for that matter), but I liked the old left or right swipe to switch between tabs. Kind of missed that when I switched back over to Safari.

  • JulianZH

    the animation is so slow and reload the page again…

  • White Michael Jackson

    Do i switch tabs with the button on top now?

  • regkilla

    Not a fan of Swipe to Navigate.

  • MrXax

    Hate this. Any way to revert to the old way? Swiping to cycle tabs is the only reason I use chrome on iOS.

    • Brian

      Go to Settings -> Chrome -> Experimental Settings -> Disable “Enable Swipe To Navigate”

      • Rafael Duarte

        OMG someone please canonize this man!!! Thank you so much, this change was driving me crazy! I was already looking for alternatives to Chrome when you saved me. If you have PayPal give me your e-mail and your country and I’ll be glad to buy you a beer 🙂

        I never thought an app would have that many options buried beneath the Settings app. Usually there are only permissions settings and sometimes a toggle to send or not usage reports.

      • Brian

        Glad I could help. I wasn’t a fan of the change as well. No worries but thanks for the kind offer 🙂

        I didn’t know about the extra options in the settings app either until this update.

      • MrXax

        You are a god among men. Thank you, sir.

    • mav3rick

      Can still switch tabs by swiping on top on the address bar.

  • Sleaka J

    I don’t seem to be able to get the swipe to navigate to work properly. On iPhone it just bounces back, and on iPad the tabs darken.

    I can’t get anything close to whats being shown in the first picture of this article.

  • Guy

    Using chrome on iDevices iPhone 5s or smaller the button wasn’t an issue for me. Now I’m using a iPhone 6plus. Hitting the tab button has become a mission.