Alastair Otter is a senior journalist at MyBroadband, and focuses on software and hardware. He has a particular love for Open Source Software (OSS)…
Gestures, synchronisation aimed at making Chrome easier to use on mobile interfaces
Google earlier this week announced the release of a beta version of its Chrome browser for Android. This test version is in limited release but brings many of Chrome’s desktop features to Android handsets.
The beta release is initially only available in 12 countries (including the UK, US, Germany and Brazil but not South Africa) and only for Android 4.0-powered handsets.
Many of the features of the desktop version of Chrome have been ported over to the mobile version, including the ability to pre-load the most popular search results in the background so that links will load almost instantaneously. A possible downside to that could be that pages a user will never actually look at will be pre-loaded, boosting data usage.
Naturally Chrome takes advantage of Google’s extensive range of services and users with a Google account can synchronise their bookmarks and open tabs across desktop and mobile platforms. Synchronisation also means that sites regularly visited on the desktop version will be used to auto-complete web addresses on the Android version.
Where the Android version differs from the desktop version is in a number of features designed to make browsing easier on mobile devices. Among these are gestures for switching between open tabs and a link preview feature which provides small previews of links on a page.
Google’s Chrome browser is a latecomer to the mobile world and faces some serious competition in this space. Most mobile devices already have a built-in browser of their own as well as offering a range of other browsers.
Leading the pack is Opera Mini which has a strong foothold in the South African and global market. Mozilla also has a mobile version of its Firefox browser available and the lesser known but increasingly popular Dolphin browser is proving popular with users.
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