There are many stats that show Chrome is now the number one browser on PCs, recently overtaking Firefox from the top spot. Now I know stats are pretty worthless, so what is important to me is that Chrome is my favorite browser, and it’s finally coming to Android. It has always seemed a little odd to me that Google’s browser was never on Google’s mobile OS. It didn’t really make too much sense. All that changes however with the release of Chrome Beta for Android. Right now it is only available if you are running ICS on your device, and since I happen to be doing just that, I hurried over to the Android Market and installed myself a copy.
Right away I recognized the familiar Chrome interface, right down to the icon and tab styles. When you first open up Chrome you are greeted with a sign-in option to sync your account with your newly installed browser. I of course did just that, and in a matter of minutes I was able to access all my bookmarks that had been saved from my desktop. I haven’t been using it all that long, but I haven’t come across any bugs yet. Even though it is a beta, we all know Google’s betas are usually pretty stable.
One pretty cool thing that the browser does is the way it syncs with your desktop browser, and I don’t just mean bookmarks. I have tried to use the Chrome to Phone app and extension combo on a few occasions with mixed results. Sometimes it worked flawlessly, but more often then not it wouldn’t work at all, or I would have tried to send the link a few times only to have all five instances try to pop up on my tablet ten minutes later. Plus the Chrome to Phone app only worked if you were on the same WiFi network as your computer.
Baked into the Chrome browser is what Google is calling Chrome to Mobile. It is turned on automatically in the mobile app, and I easily found the desktop extension called Chome to Mobile beta. Unlike Chrome to Phone, it doesn’t require you to be on the same WiFi network, and you can have multiple phones or tablets to send links to. Plus it automatically syncs any open tabs from your desktop Chrome to your mobile Chrome. So within seconds of opening up a new tab on your computer, you can click on a link in on your tablet and see the same tab opened up. It’s a pretty cool way to get sites from your desktop to your tablet. Now whenever I want to share a website I can simply click on the link on my tablet and walk to my neighbor’s office and show them the link, rather than emailing it to them, or waiting for them to open it up themselves. This is a much awaited for app, and one that I am very glad to be seeing. If you have an ICS device, give Chrome Beta a try and let me know what you think!