Google’s web browser, Chrome, is based on the open source Chromium browser, which is maintained by the Chromium Project. Chromium is designed to be a sleek, elegant and fast browser, with a minimal user interface: it’s all about the content and not about the application! Chrome is essentially Chromium with a number of bells and whistles, such a restriction blocking the installation of extensions from other sources apart from the Chrome Web Store, an integrated Flash Player, the auto-update system and support for more media standards. For the Android platform, the Chrome browser has been available for some time now and has been dependent on the hidden Google Play Services application for a number of its core services, most notably for the Google Cast feature.
A word about the Google Play Services. Regular readers will have seen that the inclusion of Google Play Services is one of the main differentiators between a device running Google Android and running (just) Android. The Google Play Services includes Google code for a number of features including the above-mentioned Cast feature, some of the location services, Google Cloud Messaging (the ability to use battery efficient push messaging) and a number of other features that I don’t want to clog up this article with! As part of making the Chrome browser dependent on the Google Play Services, the Chromium Project has also included a change that has the application check to see if Google Play Services. This means that without the Google add-on, it won’t even try to perform some of the functions that have until now sometimes caused the application to crash.
The advantage of this switch is that it will improve how Chrome behaves when trying to call upon a feature that requires Google Play Services: currently, Chrome for Android may crash if used on a device that does not feature the Google Play Services and sometimes these crashes can get ugly. However, following the change, the browser will display a message to explain that Google Play Services is missing but, importantly, it will continue working. This will improve the experience for people running the browser without Google Play Services, such as the out-of-the-box experience with say the Amazon Kindle Fire tablets.
To our readers, what’s your favorite browser? Do you use the Chrome because it synchronizes your bookmarks and visited pages, or do you use the stock browser on your device because it tends to be the fastest performer? Or do you use Firefox, or another third party browser. Let us know in the comments below.