Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Google’s Chrome for iOS Is More Like a Chrome-Plated Apple

In several ways, Chrome for iOS is similar to Google’s browser on other operating systems.

The iPhone and iPad browser, announced earlier on Thursday and now available from the App Store, features some of its most popular features, including a private incognito mode and the ability to view open tabs and pages from other devices.

But, under the hood, Chrome for iOS isn’t Chrome. It’s using Apple’s browsing engine. What’s worse, it isn’t even the fast Nitro JavaScript engine used by Safari, but rather Apple’s older engine, known as UIWebView.

“Chrome for iOS provides the same fast, secure and stable web browsing experience you’ve come to enjoy when using Chrome on your desktop or Android device, while also adapting to platform specific technical specifications,” Google said in a statement. “Rendering and the javascript engine are provided by iOS through UIWebView, so Chrome for iOS does not use Chrome v8 JS engine.”

That’s a lot of jargon, but it boils down to this: Chrome for iOS will be slow — significantly slower at many tasks than Apple’s built-in browser.

This isn’t unique to Chrome. All browsers are required to use Apple’s browser engine, whether it is Dolphin or Yahoo Axis or any number of other third-party browsers.


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik