Google on Thursday announced a new version of its Chrome browser for iOS devices. The company said the app would go live in Apple’s App Store “later today.”
Google said that the number of people using Chrome has nearly doubled since last year, growing from 160 million to 310 million active users globally. Chrome represents Google’s browser-based platform strategy, which relies heavily on cloud and HTML5.
Chrome OS, which is entirely browser-based, is the foundation for the company’s line of Chromebooks.
Today’s announcement will allow iPhone and iPad users to sync their Chrome browsers across devices, regardless of the type of operating system those devices are running.
“By signing in to Chrome, you can easily move from your desktop, laptop, smartphone and tablet and have all of your stuff with you,” wrote Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Chrome & Apps for Google.
The company also introduced more capabilities to Google Drive, its cloud-based storage solution, which is similar to competing service such as Box and Dropbox. Users of Google Drive will now have access to offline editing for Google documents, as well as a Drive app for iPhone and iPad. Drive is seamlessly integrated into Chrome OS, which allows users to easily store content in Google Drive from content created in Google’s browser-based applications.
Google’s emphasis on HMTL5 and the cloud appears to bring the industry closer to a model that might push consumers to become more platform- and device-agnostic. The idea is that as networks get faster, more sophisticated browsers will allow any application to run on any device, with most of the processing done in the cloud.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson made this point at a recent investor conference, speculating that “two years from now, we’re not going to spend a lot of time talking about OSs.” Stephenson cited improvements in HTML5 and faster networks as yet another reason that particular operating systems will become less important when users can run most applications within a next-generation mobile browser.