Most of us are well aware of the impressive high end specs of the Nexus 7 tablet. With its Tegra 3 processor, 12 core GPU, 1280x800 IPS display and more this is gonna be one sweet piece of hardware when we all get our hands on it. But just as impressive as the hardware is the software that makes the Nexus 7 such a useful device. During the Keynote at Google I/O this week they spent a good deal of time going over some of the many improvements and additions that were made to Android for the 4.1 Jelly Bean update. I'm gonna spotlight some of the most important ones over the coming week or two and I can't think of a better place to start than with the inclusion of the Chrome Browser as the new standard on Android.
The upgrade to Chrome for Android as part of Jelly Bean really excites me. Probably my biggest annoyance with both Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich has been the lackluster browser experience but with Chrome it's a whole new ballgame. In many ways it really is like having a desktop experience on your tablet. PCMag just did a piece on some of the highlights of the Chrome Browser and I've taken some of their points and expanded on them to show why I believe this is such an important upgrade to the Android operating system and why it makes your Nexus 7 so much more useful.
One of the first things you notice when you fire up Chrome for Android is the fantastic Cross Platform Syncronization
. In the blink of an eye, as soon as you sign in with your username and password, all your favorites, shortcuts...even your browsing history and tabs you have open on your desktop Chrome browser are all transferred over to Chrome on your Nexus 7. It makes setup literally a brainless activity and it just works instantly. Fantastic job there Google.
Next up is the Tabbed Browsing
. Just like on your desktop version of Chrome you can have multiple windows open in a 'tabbed' interface that makes switching between web pages so intuitive and easy.
A new feature that I think is going to be really useful is the Voice Search
feature that allows you to search google by just speaking to the Nexus 7. It's really simple to use. All you do is hit the mic icon next to the omnibox and presto...you speak your question. In demonstrations it seems very polished and has great voice recognition and accurate results. Frankly, most reviewers have said it tops Apple's Siri in accuracy of results which is probably a testament to Google's search prowess.
Moving along there's Autofill
which is now 'intelligent'. The more you use it the more accurate it gets based on your past history and you can help 'teach' Chrome by pressing the up and down arrows to show what are the most relevant results, which it will remember for future use. Nice touch.
Maybe one of the least mentioned...but one of my personal favorite features of Chrome that has been carried over from the desktop version are the Most Visited Previews
that appear when you hit the + to open a new tab. I enjoy seeing these miniature renditions of my favorite web pages as it often reminds me of favorite 'go to' pages and makes them convenient to get to with just a touch.
Finally, Google has added a nice Search Within Page
feature which can be handy if you're trying to locate a certain topic or piece of text or quote on a web page.
Overall I have to say I'm super excited and looking forward to using Chrome on my Nexus 7. It's going to make the whole web browsing experience a whole lot more fun and useful and I can definitely see this becoming my new favorite way to browse the web. What are your thoughts on Chrome for Android? Any features I've left out that you're looking forward to? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments!