Google touts ability for iOS developers to open links in Chrome, add their app to the browser’s back button

Google touts ability for iOS developers to open links in Chrome, add their app to the browser’s ...

Google on Tuesday underlined a useful feature for iOS app developers looking to leverage Chrome on Apple’s platform: basic integration into the browser. Called iOS links, the option lets users of a given app open up a link directly in Chrome, and then hit the browser’s back button to return to the app.

While this feature is not new, the evangelization today follows yesterday’s Gmail for iOS update that changed the app so all links shared through the email client will open in their respective apps. These include YouTube, Chrome, and Google Maps.

Yet this feature goes further since it is available for non-Google apps. As you can see in the example below, a user has tapped a link from the YouTube app and opened Chrome:


In the top left corner, “YouTube” is displayed in the browser’s back button. Tapping this will return the user to the YouTube app.

In short, this gives iOS app developer yet another option for their users. Sticking with Apple, users who want to access Web content can either use an app’s embedded web browser frame or be sent away from the app to Safari. The former takes a lot of extra development while the latter makes users less likely to return to the app.

The Google option is arguably better for both developers and users, as the company explains:

After you’ve downloaded the OpenInChromeController class and added it to your project, you’ll be able to check if Chrome is installed, 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.

Google is pushing very hard for its apps to become the standard on iOS. The company is doing so by out-developing Apple both in features that users would want as well as developers want. Apple will eventually hit back, and when it does, chances are it won’t be pretty.

Top Image Credit: Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images

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