Chrome: the great mobile equalizer

Chrome: the great mobile equalizer

Summary: The Chrome browser is available on most every mobile platform. That makes it the obvious choice for multi-platform online work.

TOPICS: Mobility, Google, Tablets

I'm not your typical mobile worker. I have four laptops (Chromebook, Mac, Windows 8.1), and three tablets (Kindle Fire HDX, iPad, Windows 8.1). I rotate among them at will, grabbing any one of them as I head out the door to work remotely. A constant across all of these platforms and devices that make this possible is the Chrome browser.

Chrome iPad
Chrome on iPad (Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

Google has constantly adapted Chrome to be a complete ecosystem that branches across Windows, Macs, Android, and Chromebooks. Chrome keeps the user's work environment the same across all devices under his or her control. You open up Chrome on any synced device, and everything is the same as it was yesterday, on another device and platform.

The mobile versions of Chrome for iOS and Android aren't as rich as the two desktop versions, but they come very close. They are close enough to be good solutions for online work, in fact.

This is signficant for individual users like me, but it's even more important for enterprises wanting to deploy a variety of tablets for employee use. Those running a BYOD program will appreciate having a constant in play across all of these platforms. With Chrome as the approved browser, support staff will have a consistent environment across all approved platforms and devices.

No matter how you feel about Google as a company, you must admire the way it has expanded Chrome for cross-platform use. It's free, full-featured, and designed to keep multiple devices in sync. The user only has to sign in and everything under the hood happens automatically. That means happier workers and IT support staff.

Chrome is not perfect but it comes a lot closer than other browsers, especially in environments using all of the mobile platforms. While every individual and organization must take into account particulars to determine what works, it's prudent to remember Chrome.

See related:

Topics: Mobility, Google, Tablets

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Silly me

    I use the Internet for my cross platform work. But then I thought that was the point.

    I find Chrome's "pick up your session from the other computer" thing vaguely creepy personally. But I do like the idea that my Chrome apps are installed everywhere.

    I don't generally use Chrome on the Mac.... It's pinch and zoom just isn't anywhere near as good as Safari.
    • I'm having similar experiences.

      On Windows 8, Chrome's touch-support is decent, but definitely not as good as IE 10/11's.

      And then, there's the Metro Chrome hijacking the UI...

      At least the Firefox beta team put some thought into its UI, Chrome for touch-devices is literally just Google Chrome with slightly bigger menu buttons.

      Although Chrome is fine on my desktop, all of my touch-enabled devices run IE.
      • FF touch UI

        is terrible. ugly and slow as all hell, and plugins don't even work.
        on the other hand when I tried chrome metro UI it wouldn't even load for me- I just got a big gray box and couldn't do anything.
  • Chrome gets worse and worse

    They just impose changes, like MSFT does, and in the case of Chrome, you can't stop the updates. I stopped using it, because it's so inflexible and arcane, has little customization and a ton of other problems. Sorry.

    Google Plus in particular being imposed on Youtube, made Youtube die. No way will I ever trust Google products of any kind. They don't care about customer utility, impose horrific interface changes at will, stop supporting products they developed with almost no warning, and are callous to the complaints, as the above link shows.

    • Firefox works better, anyway.. before Australis

      Assuming one sticks with Firefox before Australis (which apes Chrome, so is a disaster), then the very thing this article touts, can be said for Firefox. Difference is, you have a lot more clarity and flexibility of usage with Firefox, versus Chrome. For example, you can OPT to update, OPT to sync specific things or everything, OPT to have different interfaces, OPT to zoom text only, OPT for what add-ins have access how and when, turning them individually off and on, at will. You can OPT to overrride the colors or fonts or both, on webpages.

      Chrome can't do any of these things, or only offers you a limited choice.

      Both can operate in Linux. So, if in Linux to protect my XP machine, I just sync my Firefox, and all is the same. Wider variety of services, too, as it's just a browser. Pop the Linux stick in my pocket, can use with any tablet or machine (well, I don't know about Apple).
      • No-one uses YouTube any more ...

        ... it's just too full of people.

        Seriously, who but trolls CARE about YouTube comments? Really?

        I have a couple of hundred videos; lots of views, a few likes (most don't bother), and three comments, two of which had to be deleted.

        It's the Internet; even less moderated than ZDNet, and millions of times more visitors.
        • The Google+ thing

          Has alienated a lot of users. It's not just YouTube, but photo's hangouts (on PC) and a number of their services need a G+ account.
          Which anyone who doesn't do social media doesn't want, and so drives them away from these services.
          If people aren't going to use G+ the forcing of an account seems counter-productive, they just turn off all the services. To Google, that's a person lost..........
          • Managing G+

            For my purposes, I have a barebones gmail account that I have linked with G+ for those services that absolutely require, but no social stuff at all in terms of giving the gmail address to anyone. I keep my "real" gmail address (plus one for monitoring alerts from my servers at work since SMS is usually more unreliable for quick delivery) off the G+ connection, so I can use it for human, and other "serious" contacts.

            Funny to keep getting "reminders" from Google to put my picture in the dummy account settings along with all that other "social" info, and have all my friends in the "circle" (or whatever it is...).
      • Wrong on most counts

        @brainout : "Chrome can't do any of these things, or only offers you a limited choice."

        Re Firefox vs the following things are all untrue:

        "OPT to sync specific things or everything" Chrome offers great granularity on what to sync.
        "OPT to have different interfaces" Chrome themes offer tremendous customizability.
        "OPT to zoom text only" Font size settings are controlled independently of zoom.
        "OPT for what add-ins have access how and when, turning them individually off and on, at will." I have 72 Chrome extensions installed, with about half enabled at any given time. Turning extensions on and off individually is extremely easy using the "Extensity" extension.
        • Clearly, Deemer, you don't know what you are talking about.

          I cited things I do in Firefox, every day. Anyone who has Firefox knows how to do these same things. Shall I shame you, by making a public video demonstrating it all, in vimeo? Or will you actually learn to RESEARCH something before you make claims? Your call. You can reach me to convey your answer in . Or, you can pick any portfolio in, use Disqus to make a comment about your reply, without having to join vimeo.

          I make a lot of videos, and take seriously every comment I make. I don't say things I can't back up, so be warned.
    • New Tab Page

      I didn't like the old new tab page, and used one of the many alternative NTP extensions that are available. If you don't like the way the default NTP works, change it.

      I was in a meeting with some Google engineers last October, just after the NTP change (I didn't even notice, since I was using an alternative NTP). The inclusion of the search box in the middle of the page had been hotly debated within Google ("Larry hates it") but Google is a data-driven company, and their stats showed that the new design resulted in about 30% more searches from the NTP. That's a huge impact. For an experienced user, the search box in the middle of the NTP is a distraction and a waste of screen space, since you can make a search directly from the URL box, but I am constantly amazed at how many people are unaware of this, whether they are using Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. For these people, the search box in the middle of the NTP works.

      Many people do not handle change well; unfortunately, this sort of behavior is not limited to children.

      For an insight into how Google really handles design, see this article from Fast Times:

      Perhaps Google's Youtube changes killed Youtube for YOU, but apparently you are part of a very small minority:

      The number of people subscribing to Youtube daily is up more than 3x since last year, and the number of daily subscriptions is up more than 4x since last year. [source: ] Youtube is far from dead.
      • Subscription are not ad revenue, Deemer

        So again, you speak from ignorance. The head of Youtube was replaced, because ad revenue was down. Ad revenue is down, because people don't comment on videos as much, because they don't stick around to SEE the ads. Video watching is also down, because there is so little one can do, besides watch. The social value is reduced.

        Youtube is habit, and many educational sites have homes there. So I don't wonder that growth in people signing up, occurs. But that growth doesn't make money for Youtube. Only clicking on the ads, makes money. And people don't click on ads they don't hang around to watch. They don't hang around to watch, because there aren't any comments to read after watching the video.

        So please, do your homework before making ignorant statements.
  • ... you must admire the way it has expanded Chrome ...

    Must I? Actually No! It is an effort to make you reliant on and lock you into their wares ... its just too creepy to rely on though. I've had quite enough of the locked-in and snooping strategy already and they are just getting started. There will come a time when you will regret all this and nothing that's out there can be deleted.
    • ...."It is an effort to make you reliant on and lock you into their wares".

      And Microsoft or Apple would never try to do the same.....

      Just sayin'
      • its a generation thing

        Kids who grew up playing the xbox love microsoft and hate google/apple. It's part of the culture.
        • You give people too little credit

          I guess you can say that kids who grew up listening to iPods love Apple and hate Google/Microsoft.

          Hey, it's just part of the culture
          • I could say that, but I'd be wrong

            I grew up in the era or nintendo and sega. People having one did not hate the other. Same for my little brother growing with ps1 & nintendo64. It's just xbox people who have a culture of hatred (hatred of other console and other xbox live members).
          • Don't antagonize a demographic.

            I've seen plenty of cut-throat Sony fans out there.

            You shouldn't be making broad generalizations like that.
      • just sayin

        The article is about Google chrome.

        Wants 100% of your apps and data for full time scanning and creepy purposes. The industry leader and gold standard in creepy.
        • just sayin

          Yes, the article is about Google chrome. However we all make choices as to what platform or ecosystem fits our needs. To condemn Google for something all of the other players are working very hard to achieve serves no purpose. Google may well be guilty of all they are accused of. Be careful, the alternatives may become as bad or worse.