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18 May 12 Hands-on with the new tab synchronization feature in Chrome 19


Google has rolled out a new release of Chrome in the stable channel. The update, version 19, uses the Chrome synchronization framework to introduce support for sharing open tabs between instances of the browser. The update also brings a number of security fixes and other minor improvements.

Google first lifted the curtain on its plans for browser synchronization in 2009. The feature was implemented on top of the XMPP protocol, enabling real-time propagation of synchronized data. Chrome presently supports synchronizing form autofill data, passwords, autocompletion history, extensions, and settings. The new version expands the lineup by adding support for tabs.

The tab support is implemented differently than some of the other synchronization features. Instead of trying to keep the same set of tabs open and active across all instances, Chrome instead provides a convenient menu for launching tabs that are open in other instances of the browser. This behavior is similar to how tab synchronization is implemented in Firefox. The menu for accessing remote tabs, which is titled Other Devices, is integrated into the browser’s new tab page next to the recently closed tab menu.

When the menu is clicked, it will show a list of available tabs grouped by device. When an item in the menu is clicked, it will open in a new tab within the local instance of Chrome. The menu will also show you how much time has elapsed since updating the tab information from a specific device.


We tested the synchronization feature on several computers, including a Windows desktop computer, a Windows netbook, and a MacBook Air. It worked consistently and predictably across those platforms. We also attempted to test it on a Samsung Chromebook that is running the latest Aura environment from the developer channel, but the Other Devices menu wasn’t available in that build. During our tests, we found that the tab data propagated very quickly between instances of the browser.

When you quit Chrome on a given device, the tabs that were open at the time the browser was terminated will remain accessible in the remote tab list. This tab persistence feature is useful in many situations where a user might want to take advantage of tab synchronization. If you are surfing the Web at the office and suspend your computer when you leave for the day, for example, you will be able to pick up your session when you get home.

One limitation we encountered with tab persistence is that it doesn’t work right on Windows in some cases. If the user only has a single browser window open and quits Chrome by closing that window, the tabs in that window get dropped from the menu. Windows users can work around that limitation by remembering to quit the browser from the wrench menu or keyboard shortcut instead of closing the window. It’s possible that this issue was a simple oversight that will be corrected in future versions.

The tab synchronization feature is designed to be compatible with the Chrome for Android beta. Unfortunately, Chrome for Android is currently only available on devices that run Android 4, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich. Google doesn’t presently offer browser sync support for older versions of Android and doesn’t provide an official client application for accessing the relevant information.

Our only complaint with Google’s otherwise excellent tab sync implementation is that there doesn’t appear to be a way to get your tab list outside of Chrome. As far as we can tell, Google doesn’t provide a Web interface for accessing your open tabs from other browsers. Such a feature would be really useful, especially on mobile devices that can’t run Chrome.

Chrome sync and iOS

A recent analyst note suggests that Google may be working on a version of Chrome for Apple’s iOS mobile platform. Assuming that the analyst who authored said note isn’t just huffing bong water, such a port would theoretically provide a path for iOS users to consume Chrome sync data on their mobile devices. Due to the restrictions that Apple imposes on its mobile operating system, we think it’s extremely unlikely that Google will ever release an actual implementation of Chrome for iOS.

If there is any truth to the rumor, we suspect that the application in question is merely a sync client in the same vein as Mozilla’s Firefox Home application. It’s possible for an application of that nature to wrap the built-in WebKit renderer that ships with iOS, but it’s important to understand that the result would not technically be Chrome. There are a number of unique features, including a custom JavaScript engine, that differentiate Google’s Chrome browser from other WebKit-based browsers.

Google’s sync implementation is really excellent, but a solid Web interface and comprehensive mobile solution are still needed. It’d also be nice to have a set of simple REST APIs that enable third-party software products to securely integrate with Google sync and interoperate with the service. When Google fits those final pieces into the puzzle, it will have a winning synchronization solution.

The new version of Chrome is available from Google’s website. For more details about the update, you can refer to the official release announcement.

Article source: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2012/05/hands-on-with-the-new-tab-synchronization-feature-in-chrome-19/

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16 May 12 Is Chrome coming to iOS?


Chrome for Android will graduate from beta soon. Could Chrome for iOS be next?

(Credit:
Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Apple’s iOS will see a version of Google Chrome before the year’s out, and possibly before the end of Q2 — at least according to research firm Macquarie Group.

The equity research group claims that Chrome for iOS is due for several reasons, all of which can be summed up as part of the current “browser wars.” These include Google’s interest in reducing costs. It currently pays Apple for, among other things, each person using Google services in Apple’s default
Safari browser; getting people to use the services through its own browser would potentially offset those costs.

When asked to comment on whether an iOS version of Chrome was in the works, a Google representative said, “We do not comment on rumor or speculation.”

However, other points made by Macquarie’s analysts are harder to take at face value. While it’s true that Chrome for PCs has been an enormous success, as the firm notes, and that early reviews of Chrome for Android have also been positive, iOS is a very different beast from those two environments.

Chrome has been widely available on Windows since 2008, and on
Mac OS X and Linux since 2010. The Google browser gained early adoption because it offered a combination of speed, stability, and features that surpassed others. While Chrome is still a driving force, it’s no longer the far-and-away leader in the field, as Mozilla and Microsoft, respectively, have worked harder to maintain their market share for
Firefox and Internet Explorer.

The Android version of Chrome is a solid, fast browser, even in beta, but it faces a very different problem: platform support. It works only on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, currently running on 1 percent to 2 percent of Android devices, and Google has said it has no plans for making it work on legacy Android versions.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Google would be working on Chrome for iPhones and iPads. Both Chrome and Safari are powered by the WebKit rendering engine. But unlike Google does with Android, Apple doesn’t let third-party browser makers change iOS’ default browser from Safari. So even if you use a third-party browser on iOS as your primary browser, all links will still open in Safari, effectively handicapping any efforts to provide a true Safari alternative.

Google has also shown itself to be resistant to pushing the Chrome brand on Android. The default, nameless Android browser is WebKit-powered, but doesn’t bear the Chrome name in large part because it wasn’t based on Chromium, Chrome’s open-source foundation. It is unlikely that Google would contradict itself and submit anything to Apple labeled Chrome that didn’t have that Chromium core.

That doesn’t mean that Chrome on iOS couldn’t be useful to Google. Mozilla has a Firefox Home app so that people with iOS can sync tabs, bookmarks, and passwords from other full iterations of Firefox. The mobile-only Dolphin has a version for iOS and Android that allows cross-platform syncing too. Some people may feel that the limited third-party browsing experience on iOS is worth the hassle to stay with Chrome.

But even if Google is able to replicate the vast majority of the Chrome experience on iOS, the chances of Apple letting Google, of all companies, into its walled garden are extremely small.

(h/t GigaOm)

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-57434950-2/is-chrome-coming-to-ios/

Tags: , , , ,

16 May 12 Is Chrome coming to iOS?


Chrome for Android will graduate from beta soon. Could Chrome for iOS be next?

(Credit:
Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Apple’s iOS will see a version of Google Chrome before the year’s out, and possibly before the end of Q2 — at least according to research firm Macquarie Group.

The equity research group claims that Chrome for iOS is due for several reasons, all of which can be summed up as part of the current “browser wars.” These include Google’s interest in reducing costs. It currently pays Apple for, among other things, each person using Google services in Apple’s default
Safari browser; getting people to use the services through its own browser would potentially offset those costs.

When asked to comment on whether an iOS version of Chrome was in the works, a Google representative said, “We do not comment on rumor or speculation.”

However, other points made by Macquarie’s analysts are harder to take at face value. While it’s true that Chrome for PCs has been an enormous success, as the firm notes, and that early reviews of Chrome for Android have also been positive, iOS is a very different beast from those two environments.

Chrome has been widely available on Windows since 2008, and on
Mac OS X and Linux since 2010. The Google browser gained early adoption because it offered a combination of speed, stability, and features that surpassed others. While Chrome is still a driving force, it’s no longer the far-and-away leader in the field, as Mozilla and Microsoft, respectively, have worked harder to maintain their market share for
Firefox and Internet Explorer.

The Android version of Chrome is a solid, fast browser, even in beta, but it faces a very different problem: platform support. It works only on Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, currently running on 1 percent to 2 percent of Android devices, and Google has said it has no plans for making it work on legacy Android versions.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Google would be working on Chrome for iPhones and iPads. Both Chrome and Safari are powered by the WebKit rendering engine. But unlike Google does with Android, Apple doesn’t let third-party browser makers change iOS’ default browser from Safari. So even if you use a third-party browser on iOS as your primary browser, all links will still open in Safari, effectively handicapping any efforts to provide a true Safari alternative.

Google has also shown itself to be resistant to pushing the Chrome brand on Android. The default, nameless Android browser is WebKit-powered, but doesn’t bear the Chrome name in large part because it wasn’t based on Chromium, Chrome’s open-source foundation. It is unlikely that Google would contradict itself and submit anything to Apple labeled Chrome that didn’t have that Chromium core.

That doesn’t mean that Chrome on iOS couldn’t be useful to Google. Mozilla has a Firefox Home app so that people with iOS can sync tabs, bookmarks, and passwords from other full iterations of Firefox. The mobile-only Dolphin has a version for iOS and Android that allows cross-platform syncing too. Some people may feel that the limited third-party browsing experience on iOS is worth the hassle to stay with Chrome.

But even if Google is able to replicate the vast majority of the Chrome experience on iOS, the chances of Apple letting Google, of all companies, into its walled garden are extremely small.

(h/t GigaOm)

Article source: http://download.cnet.com/8301-2007_4-57434950-12/is-chrome-coming-to-ios/?part=rss&subj=iphoneatlas&tag=title

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