New Chrome for iOS Faster, More Reliable, Google Says

The new Chrome browser's crash rate on iOS is 70 percent lower than its predecessor, according to company.

Chrome for iOS

Google released a new version of its Chrome browser for Apple's iOS operating system that it says delivers significantly better performance and reliability than the previous browser version.

iPhone and iPad users accustomed to dealing with frequent Chrome crashes on their devices will now experience far fewer such disruptions while using up less of their data plan when browsing the Web, AbdelKarim Mardini, a Google product manager, said in a blog post Jan. 27.

Google's new Chrome 48 for iOS is scheduled to become available this week. The company claims the browser's crash rate is some 70 percent lower than its predecessor because of its support for a Web page-rendering component from Apple dubbed WKWebView. The component has dramatically improved Chrome's stability, responsiveness, performance and Web compatibility on the iOS platform, Mardini claimed.

"The biggest change is in stability," wrote Stuart Morgan, a Google software engineer in a separate blog post Jan. 27. "With WKWebView's out-of-process rendering, when the Web view crashes or runs out of memory, it won't bring down all of Chrome with it," he said.

Also available on Chrome M48 is a new Data Saver Extension capability, which the company described as technology designed to reduce Web access times and data usage by leveraging Google's own servers to compress Web pages before it is downloaded to a user's device. The company claims that more than 100 million people with the latest version of Chrome for Android are already using the Data Saver extension.

The compression feature is not available for Web pages accessed via HTTPS or via incognito mode to protect the privacy of individuals.

Rounding out the new features and upgrades on the latest version of Chrome for iOS are icons that provide quicker access to frequently visited sites, a Spotlight function to search through bookmarks, support for voice search and online translation.

Google's Chrome 48 for iOS follows the company's release of the same version of the browser for Mac, Linux and Windows last week. iPhone and iPad users can download the latest browser version from Apple's App Store. The data saver extension meanwhile is available via Google's Chrome Web store.

The performance and reliability improvements and other features that Google has integrated into Chrome 48 are part of a broader effort by the company to continue growing share in the browser market on both the desktop and mobile platforms.

Recently, Google announced its intent to start integrating a new compression algorithm in Chrome dubbed Brotli that it says would enable much faster page load times and also lower data usage and save battery life on mobile devices. According to Google, Brotli outperforms the gzip compression technology by up to 25 percent.

Meanwhile, new numbers from Web analytics firm NetMarketShare show Chrome with 32.33 percent market share, in second place to Microsoft Internet Explorer's market share of 48.57 percent. In the mobile space, Chrome holds close to 41 percent market share to Apple's 36 percent, thanks largely to Android's dominant market position.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.