Google Releases Updated Chrome for iOS, New Chrome Beta for Android

The latest Chrome browser for iOS offers improved interoperability with other Google apps, while the Chrome Beta for Android gets WebRTC and audio upgrades.

Google has unveiled a new version of its Chrome browser for iPhones and iPads, as well as a new Chrome Beta version for Android that includes a new Web audio API and support for WebRTC.

For iPhones and iPads, the Chrome 28.0.1500.12 Web browser for iOS offers several enhancements, including improved interoperability with many other Google apps, Voice Search enhancements, full-screen capabilities for iPad and data usage savings, according to a July 17 post by Jason Kersey of the Google Chrome team, on the Google Chrome Releases Blog.

The improved integration with other Google apps will allow users to access those apps with a single click after signing in to Chrome, according to a related July 17 post by Peter Lee, a Google software engineer, on the Google Chrome Blog. "In addition, if you prefer to follow directions in the Google Maps app instead of in the browser, you can easily set a preference to open these links in the Maps app instead," Lee wrote. "Try the same for YouTube, Google+, and Google Drive (with more apps coming soon)."

Also being rolled out soon is an "experimental data compression service to help you save bandwidth, load pages faster, and browse more securely on your iPhone and iPad," he wrote.

The latest Chrome 28 for iPhone and iPad can be downloaded immediately.

Meanwhile, the Chrome 29 Beta version for Android has also been released, bringing continuing development of several new features for the Android platform of the Web browser, according to a July 16 post by Kersey on the Google Chrome Releases Blog.

The Beta release, Chrome 29.0.1547.23, now includes support for WebRTC, which enables real-time voice and video communications for users of different browsers so they can directly communicate together, as well as faster page loads and other performance enhancements, according to a July post on The Chromium Blog by Google software engineers Raymond Toy and Wei Jia.

WebRTC has been enabled in desktop Chrome for a while, but until now had not been introduced to the Android version of the browser, wrote Toy and Jia. "Now you can create real-time web experiences that work across device form factors."

Also included in the new Android Beta are recent Chrome packaged apps browser add-ons that are aimed at enriching the experiences of Chrome browser users. The new packaged apps APIs were added to the latest Chrome Dev channel release earlier in July and are now making their way into the Android Beta. The packaged apps provide richer access to Google services such as Google Analytics, Google APIs and Google Wallet, and better OS integration using services such as Bluetooth and native app communication.

In June, Google introduced a video game, Cube Slam, to demonstrate and show off WebRTC capabilities. WebRTC allows users to see, hear and communicate with each other using only a Web browser, whether they are playing a game or participating in an online video conference. Google has been working on WebRTC projects for some time as a Google Chrome Experiments project. The technology could find its way into many other business and consumer uses in the future.

The Cube Slam video game lets users play face-to-face against their friends by simply using a WebRTC-enabled browser.

In May, Google released two other video games, Roll It and Racer, as part of its ongoing Chrome Experiments projects.

Chrome Experiments began in 2009, when Google unleashed the project as a showcase for creative Web experiments for its Chrome Web browser. The projects come from people around the world. Most of the experiments are built with HTML5, Canvas, SVG and WebGL. The idea, according to Experiments, is to try new things and see how they go.

In February, Google announced its first-ever capabilities for its Chrome browser to conduct video chats with Mozilla Firefox browsers using WebRTC, without any plug-ins.

The development had been in the works since the fall of 2012 using WebRTC technologies. WebRTC was used for the project because it delivers high-quality voice, high-definition (HD) video and low-delay communication to Web browsers.

WebRTC capabilities were first added to the Chrome browser in July 2012 as part of Chrome 21 with the inclusion of a new getUserMedia API that allowed users to grant Web apps access to cameras and microphones without a plug-in. The getUserMedia API was the first step in WebRTC, which is a real-time communications standard that aims to allow high-quality video and audio communication on the Web.