UPDATE: Google has replied to a request for comment, and their answer is what you might expect. A Google spokesperson told WebProNews, “We do not comment on rumor or speculation, and have nothing new to share at this time.” Not terribly helpful, of course, but it isn’t surprising, either. Nevertheless, a Chrome browser for iOS is a logical move for Google, provided they can do it well, so don’t be too surprised if one pops up in the App Store sometime soon.
Google may be preparing to bring their Chrome browser to Apple’s iOS platform, according to a recent report. The browser would be an attempt by Google to get a bigger piece of the monetary pie for searches done on Apple’s devices.
According to Business Insider, analyst Ben Schacter of Macquarie suggests that Apple could already be in the process of reviewing Chrome for iOS, and the browser could hit the iOS App Store as soon as this quarter. Even if it doesn’t come this quarter, though, Schacter says we should expect it by the end of the year. By having their own iOS browser, Google could get back some of the millions of dollars it currently pays to Apple for its share of mobile search revenues generated by Google searches performed on iOS devices.
Google Chrome for iOS – assuming it’s actually coming – is Google’s follow-up to the popular Chrome for Android, which launched back in February. The two mobile versions are in turn an attempt to duplicate the wild success of the desktop version of Google’s Chrome browser, which is the second most popular browser in the world (following the ubiquitous Internet Explorer).
To match the success of its desktop and Android cousins, however, Chrome for iOS will face a major uphill battle. Unlike desktop operating systems and Android, the iOS platform does not allow users to change their device’s default browser. That means that no matter what you do, Safari is the default browser on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch. There are third party browsers in the App Store, and some of them are relatively popular, but they all face a distinct disadvantage.
Of course, as BI points out, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was in a similar situation in the 1990s, and the U.S. government conducted an antitrust lawsuit to put a stop to it. At the moment it doesn’t seem likely that Apple will face the same kind of government action, but if it does, it would pave the way for Chrome, or even for an iOS version of Firefox, to gain a much larger share of the mobile browsing market.