The super popular and technically abandoned Sparrow for iPhone has gotten a nice update despite its status as the castoff product of a staff now working at Google. The update allows users to open webpages in Google’s Chrome browser.

The updates also include a couple of bug fixes:

  • Webpages can be opened in Chrome
  • Improved IMAP compatibility
  • Improved avatars behavior
  • Various bugfixes

The Sparrow team was acquired by Google back in July and the team said at that time that it would continue to update the app with bug fixes only. A recent update to Sparrow for Mac brought support for Apple’s Retina display and Mountain Lion’s Notification Center feature.

photo 22 520x780 Sparrow for iPhone gets another update, now opens webpages in Chrome browser too

Though the Open in Chrome functionality makes more sense when you think about the fact that Google just added it to the Google+ app for iOS earlier this month. This is clearly a feature that it wants to implement across all of its apps. I explained the motivation back then:

If you have Chrome and all of Google’s apps installed, you’ll be living in a pocket universe on iOS, populated by all Google properties. It’s a workaround for not being allowed to be the default browser.

Chrome on iOS faces a distinct set of challenges due to iOS’ lack of a default browser setting and its forced lag in Javascript performance. This tactic of allowing any Google app to open links in Chrome makes it that much easier for users to use the browser that they want, even if it is due to a workaround.

For more on Sparrow, you can check out our interview with company founder Dom Leca here.

Sparrow for iOS