Chrome coming out on iOS might seem like a big deal, but for me it isn’t. While I use Chrome on my computer, the mobile version lacks one thing: plugin support. Whereas Android at least has a couple of browsers with plug-in support, neither the Android nor the iOS version of Chrome has that feature. Neither does Safari or any built-in Android browser of course, and that makes all of them absolutely useless to me.
I have a huge library of bookmarks that I switched over to Chrome Sync a few months ago, but I left Lastpass in charge of my passwords as I don’t think Chrome does a good enough job of handling those. Using Lastpass (or any password manager) is a bit ironic, as the extra security and convenience you gain from auto-logins using a master password and lots of unique, random passwords quickly turn into a nightmare when you’re sitting there with a login screen, and not having the slightest clue what to put in any of the fields. That’s pretty much what browsing on iOS is like for me, so I rarely do it, or do it only for a few select sites where I can copy the password over and have it remember it.
On Android, Dolphin HD‘s plugin support and Lastpass’s compatible plug-in means that I can browse without worrying about this little issue. Yet even now, years into each of these mobile OSes’ lives, Dolphin HD stands out among the rest with this features. Sure, there are other browsers with plug-in support, with Firefox being the most promising of them (though it’s a bit young still), but it seems to be more or less a general rule that mobile browsers shouldn’t support plug-ins. Why that is, I have absolutely no idea.
On iOS there might be technical reasons why there are no plug-ins, but I have a feeling it would be possible to get something going there as well if a company really wanted to. On Android however, I really want to know what excuse these Google has for releasing yet another product that is seriously inferior to the competition. Is it trying to bring back memories from when Chrome released on Windows, and lacked that very important feature there too? Or is it just under the impression that mobile devices don’t need browser plug-ins?
Whatever the reason is, I don’t agree. Not with Google, Apple, or anyone else who have browsers out there that don’t support plugins. There’s a reason why the desktop version of all those browsers have plugins, and that means that there’s a serious gap in functionality when the mobile versions don’t. With increased resolution, network speeds, and things like laptop docks on tablets, it’s about time that we start seeing browsers that aren’t toys.