The Google Chrome Browser was originally launched as a high performance web browser, designed to dispense with the clunky and slow user interface and instead to bring high the world wide web to Google customers. Over time, the Google Chrome Browser has evolved and although in some corners of the world, there are murmurings that it has lost its way, the Chrome browser is going from strength to strength. The browser forms the basis of the Chromebook and of course is the stock web browser for many devices. In recent months, the Chrome team at Google have added new features to the web browser including improving performance where users have a slow Internet connection speed, the ability to add an icon to the home page (and as such, makes a website look a little bit like an installed third party application) and also allowing the Chrome browser to support push notifications. These three tools help give a well designed, mobile-optimized website a definite feeling that it is close to running a third party application.
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For Google, this brings an advantage in that viewing a shop via the the mobile website is better at providing them with revenue via anonymous information collection. For the business, it means that customers using their mobile for shopping do not have the complication of needing to download and maintain (via regular updates) a third party application. And Flipkart, one of India’s most successful online stores, is a great example of the Chrome and mobile optimized technology in action. The story of how Flipkart have revised their mobile website starts back in April, then would-be customers visiting from their smartphone were shown a full page message asking them to download the mobile application. It looked as though Flipkart were planning on taking down their mobile website, but this assumption was wrong: instead, it was a placeholder, a stop gap if you will, until the new website was ready to be launched – and this has happened today.
Peeyush Ranjan, Flipkarts Vice President of engineering, originally approached the Google Chrome team in April. It turns out that Peeyush is a former Googler, and had the idea of relaunching the Flipkart site using Chrome’s new technologies. Google Chrome’s product manager, Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, explained in an email: “Although other sites have used some of [the Google Chrome features] in isolation, FlipKart is the first mass-market experience to be built from the ground up to take advantage of them and show a complete end-to-end experience. For developers who care about these properties but were not convinced that they could build something great, we hope Flipkart will show that this can be a reality.”