Last week Google launched Chrome 48 for Mac, Windows and Linux. It was only a matter of time till the tech giant released its proprietary browser’s latest version for Apple’s iOS. The web giant, on Wednesday, announced that Chrome 48 has now started rolling out for iOS and it brings in tow a lot of performance and stability improvements.
Until now, just like every other app using web view on iOS, Chrome was using UIWebView, which limited performance and lowered stability by quite a large amount. When iOS 8 was launched, Apple introduced the new WKWebView API that offered performance equivalent to that of Safari. While Google had considered switching to WKWebView a long time ago, there were a few significant challenges which were quite tricky with iOS 8 on board.
Because of these hurdles, Google couldn’t replace UIWebView with WKWebView right after Apple released iOS 8 in September 2014. The issues, the company lists, include:
- There is no cookie management API, which means there is no obvious way to clear/manage cookies
- Protocol handlers no longer work, which breaks several very important features
- POST bodies are missing from delegate callbacks, which breaks certain aspects of form handling
With iOS 9 finally out and running, Google finally found ways to work around the issues and successfully integrated WKWebView in place of UIWebView.
What does that do for us? You might ask.
WKWebView gives Chrome dramatic improvements in stability, speed, responsiveness, and web compatibility. In fact, the performance of Chrome will now, if not better than, will at least be in par with that of Safari on iOS. The new webkit uses out-of-process rendering which it doesn’t take down Chrome with it when the web view crashes or runs out of memory. The company claims that this leads to 70 percent less crashes than before.
Google also officially launched its Data Saver extension for the browser out of beta today. The feature had been in public beta for almost 10 months now. The company had first launched it back in March 2015. Data Saver is a very helpful extension if you are someone who is on limited data or needs to speed up rendering times. The tool not just does what it’s named after, it also shows you the actual and compressed sizes of web pages.
Here is the extension’s official description according to Google:
Reduces data usage by using Google servers to optimize pages you visit. Browse more for less!
By enabling this extension, Chrome will use Google servers to compress pages you visit before downloading them. Pages accessed using private connections (HTTPS) or in incognito tabs will not be optimized or seen by Google. Get more visibility into your data usage by clicking on “Details” to see how much data is used by the sites you visit. This might help you make more informed decisions regarding your usage based on the type of connection you are using.