Google Highlights Chrome Integration Tools for iOS Developers

Tuesday May 7, 2013 11:35 AM PDT by Juli Clover
chrome.jpgFollowing yesterday's Gmail update that gave users the option to open links directly in apps like YouTube, Chrome, and Safari, Google has released a blog post detailing Chrome integration tools for iOS developers.

With the iOS Links functionality, developers can give users the option to open a link in Chrome rather than Safari. In addition to opening a link in Chrome, developers are also given a dedicated back button within the browser, which will return users to the original app.
As an iOS app developer, when your users want to access web content, you currently have two options: create your own in-app web browser frame, or send users away from your app to a browser.

With Chrome's OpenInChromeController class with x-callback, users can open a web page in Chrome and then return to your app with just one tap.
Chrome's integration tools for developers have existed for several months, but with the release of its own app that supports the opening of links in Chrome, Google is reminding developers about the available functionality.

Apple prevents third party browsers like Chrome from being set as the default iOS browsing option, which has prompted Google to create a workaround that provides a Google-centric experience on Apple's operating system.

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 20 months ago
I really dont know how Apple get away with not allowing users to change default browser. Cant see the difference with what they are doing now and what Microsoft did with IE.
Rating: 8 Votes
Posted: 20 months ago
This type of thing was one of the reasons I jailbroke mine, the forced default browser/maps was always one of the dumbest decisions Apple ever kept in place for iOS.
Rating: 5 Votes
Posted: 20 months ago

My first thought is.… why? The WebKit web browser frame is, like, butt simple (2 lines of code), and it can load web pages from an external URL… just fine (one line of code). Works perfectly. Simply bizarre why I would want to do this. The Chrome browser is not going to be faster than the WebKit plug in (slower, actually)...


What if you want a reload button? Forward and back buttons? Tabs? History?

At some point you realize you want a browser, not just a web view. Rather than roll your own integrated browser in your app, you could just use Chrome now, and when the user presses back enough times they'll end up back in your app. Sounds neat to me.
Rating: 3 Votes
Posted: 20 months ago
Apple is getting owned on their own platform due their lack of foresight and plain stubbornness.
Rating: 2 Votes
Posted: 20 months ago

I have tried alternate browsers. But I don't see the benefit on an iOS device. Nothing really earth moving is available in one over the other.

I'd love to hear some examples to make me want to switch, but I just don't.

I also hope that Google doesn't start forcing their apps to use their other apps. That is just as bad as not having a choice. Make it an option like the did in the just updated GMail and I am fine.



Well, many,many times I need to access the full desktop version of a website, which Chrome allows me to do very easily.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 20 months ago
Nice. I personally don't use anything other than Safari (both OS X and iOS), but this looks like it will save me some development time.

I hope, if we don't have Chrome installed, the apps don't open Chrome page in the App Store. It would be very annoying if that happens.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 20 months ago
I started doing a check in my apps. If the user has Chrome installed, links open in that. Otherwise it falls back to Safari.

That way we dont have to mess around with 'integration tools' for simple links to the browser.

All you do is direct a link to googlechrome:// and it'll force it to open in chrome instead of safari.

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I have tried alternate browsers. But I don't see the benefit on an iOS device. Nothing really earth moving is available in one over the other.

I'd love to hear some examples to make me want to switch, but I just don't.

I also hope that Google doesn't start forcing their apps to use their other apps. That is just as bad as not having a choice. Make it an option like the did in the just updated GMail and I am fine.

Its the ecosystem. For me Chrome is miles better than Safari because I can pull up pages I have open on any other device that I use Chrome on. It syncs my bokmarks, logins, etc. In comparison Safari is obviously limited to only doing it with Safari on your mac, and if (like most people) you dont use Safari on your mac, its not very useful.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 19 months ago

I would guess most people do use safari on their Mac.


I tried to find some official stats however nobody seems to be combining Browser + OS right now so theres no way of really knowing. Given Chrome's current marketshare I'm not so sure Safari is actually the most widely used OS X browser.
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 20 months ago

I really dont know how Apple get away with not allowing users to change default browser. Cant see the difference with what they are doing now and what Microsoft did with IE.


Agreed. Microsoft was sued for this

Hopefully iOS 7 let's users decide what they want or class action lawsuit
Rating: 1 Votes
Posted: 20 months ago

I have developed about a dozen apps for clients. 4 of those have had web views, because they want to display some information, and a webview is a great way to do layout.

If you are running an app that needs that much browser stuff - tabs, back/forward, etc. then you aren't making a native app. You are making a web app and wrapping it in an app skin for basic buttons. And you are doing that because you don't want to write a native app.

I use over 100 apps on my phone. I have never found an app that uses a rich browser, nor have they been lacking because of it.

I'm sorry, I still don't get it.

And as somebody else pointed out, this is really a way for Google to get more information about you (or your app) by doing this. But Google supposedly isn't evil, right? Only Apple.


I never do this either, but Facebook and Twitter and many other apps have built in web browsers for opening links. They use built in web browsers instead of Safari because they want users to be able to navigate back to the app quickly. Do they have the user's best intentions in mind? It's debatable. But google is offering an alternative to rolling your own web browser that allows users to still get back to your app quickly and easily.
Rating: 1 Votes

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