For ages I have been secretly fuming that my apps keep opening safari automatically.
Looks like clever old Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has worked out away to get round this big bugbear of mine as it is rolling out a new API enabling consumers to access Web content in iOS applications via its Chrome browser instead of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) own default browser Safari.
“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,” explains Google Software Engineer and Callback Captain Michele Aiello. “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.”
After a developer has downloaded the OpenInChromeController class and integrated the API into his software, his apps can detect if Chrome is installed on the user’s iOS device, and if so, send links to Chrome with or without x-callback enabled. “Additionally, you can specify whether or not to open a new tab when sending a link to Chrome,” Aiello notes.
Apple bans default browsers other than Safari, but in mid-2012, Google released an updated version of its Google+ social networking application for iOS circumventing the rule, allowing users to choose to open external Web links in Safari or Chrome by clicking a pop-up dialog within the app. Google+ leverages URL schemes, an official Apple tool that supports external communications with iOS apps.
Google first extended Chrome to iOS close to a year ago. Users can sign in to sync their mobile Web experience with Chrome tabs and bookmarks on the desktop, flip through multiple tabs much the same way they would fan a deck of cards and search and navigate from the same box. Subsequent updates have enabled iPhone and iPad users to share webpages from social networks Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter, in addition to email.
Clever stuff Google – but will Apple let you do it for long? As they tend to like to own everything dont they! And will it make a big difference to mobile marketing?