Google serves up Chrome for Android 4.0

Wait, doesn’t Google already make the default web browser for Android? That’s what I thought when I came across this bit of news yesterday. As it turns out, though, Google also wants to offer Chrome as an alternative for Android 4.0 users.

According to the update on Google’s blog, Chrome for Android Beta is up for grabs right now from the Android Marketplace. It looks something like this:

Why use Chrome for Android? Apparently, it’s faster, with a niftier user interface, tabs re-imagined to fit on a small screen ("as if you’re holding a deck of cards in the palm of your hands, each one a new window to the web"), and an option to sync tabs, bookmarks, and autocomplete suggestions with the browser’s desktop analogue. Folks with Android 4.0 tablets can partake, too, although judging by the lone screenshot, the tablet version of the browser has the same tabs-on-top design as the desktop version.

I don’t know why, but Chrome for Android gives me the same weird vibe as Google’s two-pronged approach to operating-system development—you know, with Chrome OS on one side and Android on the other. It’s not that the products don’t have their place; it’s just that the redundancy and overlap seem unnecessary. Sort of like Google has competing product teams vying for market share without central oversight.

Sort of like Google is turning into the Microsoft of yesteryear.

Comments closed
    • jpostel
    • 8 years ago

    “as if you’re holding a deck of cards in the palm of your hands, each one a new window to the web”

    What a great idea! Isn’t that just like… ummm… WebOS?

    I am glad some of the better elements of WebOS are being put into other mobile OS and apps. Hopefully someone (MS maybe?) will adopt the last few key feature/functions of Blackberrys and then consumers will have a real 3 horse race to drive competition and innovation.

    • AntiSp4wn
    • 8 years ago

    Weird comment I keep hearing, “Sort of like Google is turning into the Microsoft of yesteryear.”

    Today Microsoft maintains two operating systems: windows, windows phone. Apple has two: OS X, iOS. Google has two: Chrome OS, Android.

    Chrome OS is Google’s equivalent to windows or OS X, Android their mobile equivalent to iOS and windows phone. Granted there is more overlap as chrome can be run on android, but really one might say there is greater consistency, or that microsofts/apples ecosystems are more fragmented.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      how are they more fragmented? shortly, windows phone will run the same kernel as windows 8. apps will largely be portable between the two. They’ll soon be essentially the same core, with a consisten ui across products. Chrome is TOTALLY different than android, by design, and both are targeting similar price points.

        • poulpy
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]Chrome is TOTALLY different than android, by design, and both are targeting similar price points.[/quote<] Not arguing one way or another but with regards to the quote above don't you think this sentence just doesn't make sense? They are different OSes, for different usages so what have their price points anything to do with it? In other words if you need a smartphone who cares if a CloudBook is roughly the same price?

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          because when you’re comparing whether to get a cloud book or a xoom, you’re going to be comparing a variety of variables, and price is on of the major ones for many people.

            • poulpy
            • 8 years ago

            Great but still a smartphone, a tablet and a cloudbook cover different markets, this is like saying car maker X makes a family car and a pickup truck at roughly the same price so there’s overlap and therefore they suck.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            Remember Pontiac? How about mercury? People do, and its not that they made bad cars, its that it was unnecessary to have the number of products they did. I guess I view it more from that angle. I can see your point, but it seems like Google already has a successful os, and is trying to return to the poor model of ms

            • poulpy
            • 8 years ago

            None of these car brands really talk to me mate, I’m French :p

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            GM only really cut Pontiac and Saturn because they were a poorly run company and were making bad products less and less people wanted.

            If they were well run and kept up with modern technology, they would have kept the brands.

            Same reason Toyota keeps adding brands, Toyota, Lexus, and now Scion.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            I don’t agree with that at all. they cut them because they had too many similar products on the market. Marketing myopia was part of the issue, but since they sold similar products, for similar niches, it made no sense to invest in both.

            Toyota “keeps” adding brands? hardly. they market ALMOST ALL of their vehicles under the “toyota” brand. scion has what? two or three models? lexus is high end only, and been around FOREVER. saying they “keep adding brands” is hyperbole.

            GM failed for a variety of reasons, too many brands was one of them.

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    “Sort of like Google is turning into the Microsoft of yesteryear.” pretty much this. MS has become quite organized, and unified. Better than they have executed in years.

      • DancinJack
      • 8 years ago

      You took a post about Chrome and turned it into something that had everything to do with MS. I guess I can’t fault your persistence.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        that’s what it’s all about. beating the drum until it either has a hole from wear, or everyone agrees so you can stop. 🙂

      • End User
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]Better than they have executed in years.[/quote<] And yet sales of Windows based PC's are tanking, Windows Phone sales are a joke and iPhone revenue was more than Microsoft's total revenue this past quarter.

        • no51
        • 8 years ago

        So… what you’re saying is that AAPL is the big bad corporation and MSFT is the underdog?

          • End User
          • 8 years ago

          Microsoft’s execution ain’t that hot.

    • DancinJack
    • 8 years ago

    I actually don’t like it as much as the default browser. Default already syncs all my bookmarks and history from desktop Chrome so there’s no gain there. Stock is still faster and pinch to zoom is much smoother on stock.

    The best part is the icon, which you can get elsewhere.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    as a nerd this is a strange way to present such a piece of news.

    • Helmore
    • 8 years ago

    My guess would be that Chrome for Android will be the default browser in Android 5.0 (or 4.5 or something).

      • rxc6
      • 8 years ago

      And if that happened Flash will be dead. No support for it with Chrome.

        • TakinYourPoints
        • 8 years ago

        Flash is already screwed on mobile devices, even Adobe is abandoning it.

    • burntham77
    • 8 years ago

    I have been using Opera for awhile on my Xoom. Honestly, I thought the default browser was a version of Chrome. So you’re telling me it’s not?

      • Helmore
      • 8 years ago

      No it’s not and Google has always made clear that it’s not.

        • indeego
        • 8 years ago

        How has it made that clear?

          • poulpy
          • 8 years ago

          With a hell of a lot of leaflets, was worth it though!

    • Corrado
    • 8 years ago

    Nothing like competing against yourself. Why not just make this THE ICS browser and be done with it?

      • Helmore
      • 8 years ago

      Maybe because this is a Beta? Reports are coming in that the Chrome Beta isn’t quite ready for prime time yet.

        • Corrado
        • 8 years ago

        What from Google ISNT a beta for years after release? What I’m saying is, why even call it something else? Why wasn’t the browser in Android called Chrome from the get go? Diluting the brand by not having the Chrome icon be the default browser icon on Android, really. Why wasn’t this considered priority for inclusion into ICS?

          • poulpy
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<]why even call it something else? Why wasn't the browser in Android called Chrome from the get go?[/quote<] Because Android's codebase, and therefore browser, as such predates Chrome by quite a few years? Therefore Android's browser had no bearings code nor functionality wise with the actual Chrome? You'd rather have something that's not Chrome being called Chrome for the sake of branding? [quote<]Why wasn't this considered priority for inclusion into ICS?[/quote<] Unless you have insiders' information we simply don't know where it sat on the ICS wishlist. Beside being different teams/projects/release cycles ICS is already quite an deep update of the Android platform in itself and probably didn't need the several months delay plus added bug/complexity of Chrome on top. As long as eventually Chrome for Android becomes the mainstream browser for Android as released by Google I don't see any faux pas.

    • esterhasz
    • 8 years ago

    I’ve replaced the default browser with Chrome on my phone – it’s noticeably faster, the controls are nice, and I think that Google’s recent design decisions point in the right direction. Browsing the web is now better on my phone than on my iPad 1 where Safari crashes constantly…

      • BKA
      • 8 years ago

      It’s seems decent. Can’t find a way to set a homepage though. Any ideas?

        • esterhasz
        • 8 years ago

        You could use a URL shortcut as the launch button?

      • NeelyCam
      • 8 years ago

      I guess for us loser with non-ICS Android phones will have to stick with DolphinHD..

    • Deanjo
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]Sort of like Google is turning into the Microsoft of yesteryear. [/quote<] IMHO they are getting far worse then MS with their revised "all your base r belong to us" TOS and practices like wifi mapping and leaving it up to the owner to find out about it and then scour the net to find the "opt out" option.

    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 8 years ago

    It’s called dolphin browser.

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