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Google Releases Chrome For Android Beta 142

Posted by Soulskill
from the support-extensions-please dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today Google announced the availability of a beta version of its Chrome browser for Android. Unfortunately, it's limited to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) devices. Google is trying to keep Chrome fast and easy to use, and part of that involved redesigning tabs so they work more naturally with touchscreens. 'You can flip or swipe between an unlimited number of tabs using intuitive gestures, as if you're holding a deck of cards in the palm of your hands, each one a new window to the web.' They've also including synchronization functionality that allows you to move from desktop browsing to phone or tablet browsing and pick up right where you left off."
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Google Releases Chrome For Android Beta

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  • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:18PM (#38958873)
    Nope. It has (had) a simple browser based on the Webkit API.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:20PM (#38958891)

    No, the stock Android browser has never been Chrome. It has a completely different WebKit port, developed independently by a different group, with far worse support for newer web standards; is single-process; has a completely different UI stack (e.g. no omnibox); and doesn't have the same level of data syncing support.

    The stock Android browser could be called "Chrome" only to the same degree that Safari could be called Chrome.

  • Shortsighted much? (Score:3, Informative)

    by teh31337one (1590023) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:21PM (#38958903)

    They're not looking at who can run it today, but who will be able to run it in the future.

    On a side note, I think it's a good thing that the app is not part of the core OS, (like Gmail was removed from the core OS a few versions ago) and can as such be updated separately.

  • by tysonedwards (969693) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:28PM (#38959019)
    Chrome = WebKit + V8
    Safari = WebKit + SunSpider
    Konqueror = WebKit + KJS

    So, no... Safari is not Chrome.
    However, do you care to explain what else is necessary to make something a browser besides some UI bits?
  • Re:Beta (Score:3, Informative)

    by SJHillman (1966756) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:36PM (#38959133)

    Just like Gmail, Google+ and a host of other Google services started out limited to a very small group... and then they expanded the beta to their entire user base later on.

  • by rafial (4671) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:37PM (#38959145) Homepage

    I've put this on my Galaxy Tab 10.1, which I recently updated to a developer release of CyanogenMod9 (The forthcoming ICS based Cyanogen). It really is nice. I can load up the full desktop version of Google+, which only sorta-kinda worked under the standard ICS browsers, and sorta-kinda worked differently under Firefox mobile, and it works 100%, no compromises. And doesn't feel much slower than my desktop either. That's great! The only annoyance is that it does seem to identify itself as a mobile browser, and I haven't yet found an option to change the user agent. No problem for sites like Wikipedia or G+ that give you a link to escape their mobile versions, but could be annoying elsewhere, since so many mobile sites are terrible. Surprising overside, since the stock browser in ICS includes an option to "request desktop site".

  • by Kamiza Ikioi (893310) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:40PM (#38959183) Homepage

    If it's not an official ROM, don't expect support. Running EncounterICS Beta 3 on a Droid X here. And like other users of unofficial ICS ROMs, it doesn't work. For me, the problem is that all web pages are blank. Being that us bleeding edge custom ROM users are used to being bug testers, this is good for the beta and hopefully will be fixed soon.

  • Re:great start but (Score:5, Informative)

    by ZiggieTheGreat (934388) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @04:51PM (#38959309)
    When the websites I routinely visit stop posting content in Flash, I won't want it on my mobile devices anymore.

    Until then, I either put flash on my android phone, or email myself a link to check out the site when I'm near a desktop computer.
  • by afidel (530433) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @05:08PM (#38959537)
    It also lacks extension support. I can't wait till the Android browser syncs my Chrome bookmarks, passwords, history, and extensions. That will make for a lot less typing on the phone and I can drop the stupid GBookmark app which only exists because Google can't integrate their own services.
  • by tysonedwards (969693) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @05:16PM (#38959647)

    with far worse support for newer web standards

    Gingerbread's Web Browser also gets 100 on the Acid3 test.

    is single-process

    Chrome for Android also is single-process.

    has a completely different UI stack

    Different platforms *have* different UI stacks... As does Chrome for Android in comparison to Android as well as Chrome for Windows, Mac and Linux as stated in TFA.

    doesn't have the same level of data syncing support.

    Yes, this seems to be the only *real* distinction between Chrome and Android's Web Browser.

    The stock Android browser could be called "Chrome" only to the same degree that Safari could be called Chrome.

    Chrome and Safari are pretty different, as they are WebKit + very different stuff.
    Chrome and Android's web browser are both WebKit + V8, in which there was a fork from Chromium at Version 4, as outlined in the Google Android Commit Logs. Seems more as though Android's web browser has always been Chrome, with modifications to support mobile devices, from what was at the time a Current Chromium version (read: Chrome). Seems as though Google has simply made a more up-to-date build of their web browser available.

  • by Calos (2281322) on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @06:33PM (#38960535)

    Gingerbread's Web Browser also gets 100 on the Acid3 test.

    That 100 isn't the whole story, if the rendering isn't also correct.

    Acid3 is also a cherry-picked group of tests, some of which are still drafts, some of which have no real use in standard practice.

    AND... most importantly, here - it doesn't test HTML 5. That's one of the big things Google is pushing with Chrome for Android, hardware-accelerated HTML 5 rendering and support.

    (This could be related to the ICS requirement - GPU acceleration of UI elements)

    Chrome for Android also is single-process.

    Do you have a source? TFA says otherwise, official docs [google.com] say otherwise.

    Yes, this seems to be the only *real* distinction between Chrome and Android's Web Browser.

    Clearly you're ignorant on the subject, so please don't take offense if I continue to ignore your claims.

    Now, I don't have an exhaustive list... But there are the things mentioned above, addition of the Omnibox, better developer tools, Incognito Mode, pre-loading and rendering pages as an option for don't/wifi only/always, no limit for number of tabs to have open, hardware accelerated rendering, redesigned UI that seems to be both better and more consistent with the desktop platform... Sandboxing isn't there yet, though they claim to be working on it.

    Chrome and Android's web browser are both WebKit + V8, in which there was a fork from Chromium at Version 4, as outlined in the Google Android Commit Logs. Seems more as though Android's web browser has always been Chrome, with modifications to support mobile devices, from what was at the time a Current Chromium version (read: Chrome). Seems as though Google has simply made a more up-to-date build of their web browser available.

    Chrome 4 was ages ago. At the time, sure, maybe the Android browser was Chrome 4 + enhancements for mobile devices - really don't care to go research the state of Chrome 4 and what Android Browser had then and what has been added since. But how well has the Android stock browser kept up with Chrome development?

    There's some obvious, fundamental differences to how the two versions worked. They apparently was a fair amount of neutering done to make it work on the phone quickly and easily, or it was from such an early Chrome build that a lot of the features associated with Chrome weren't present yet.

    That's a big part of this. They're working to keep both versions working off the same codebase. This will keep the Android browser more current going forward.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 07, 2012 @07:26PM (#38961065)

    The Nexus S (which has ICS) and the Nexus S 4G (which soon will be getting it) only have 512Mb of memory and strangely enough...ICS runs great on it.

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