Browser sync is the killer app

"Slow. Doesn't use the V8 engine. Second-class citizen on the iPhone. 3x slower than Mobile Safari because it uses WebViews. No full screen, no gestures. Horrible."

Google Chrome browser for iOS
Taken by a lovely Canon 5D Mark III (thoughts coming soon)

All of these have been used to describe the new Chrome app for Apple iOS. But you know what? It's not all about speed. Browser sync is the killer feature for me.

I remember when Mozilla's Weave initiative was announced back in 2007. It was a way for you to sync bookmarks, settings, et cetera amongst your Firefox browsers — and I thought that was going to be amazingly huge. In particular because you could use your own server for it. I remember even setting up my own WebDAV server solely for syncing Firefox. But times have changed and I would rather let trusted others manage my data and servers for me (Heroku, Google, Amazon, Dropbox)1.

I had even pitched a hosting company on creating a hosted Weave service for users. I had just come back from speaking at a conference in Rome where I happened to run into Aza Raskin2, who blew my mind about the future of the cloud.

Years later browser sync became the norm in desktop browsers.. now it has finally come full-circle to mobile. I love it. Here's to never having the "oh I have that tab open on my other computer/device" issue again.

I can't believe Chrome is just a few years old. I still remember when Phoenix was the coolest program on the block.

Chrome for iOS is damn good — even if I can't set it as default. What do you think?


1 I can't believe I actually gave Dropbox a negative review in 2008. Sorry about that Drew. I wanted them to be a layer on top of my own storage (just use my Amazon keys). I liked feeling that I "owned" whatever my data was on. Well times have changed and I could not care less as long as my data is in multiple places that I don't have to manage.

2 That was quite the trip for a college student. Also got to chat with Leonard Kleinrock, Nicholas Negroponte and other Wikipedia-page-bearing tech folk. All thanks to a CS professor at Georgia Tech that recommended this conference invite me to speak about 'being a digital native' (a talk that largely got sidetracked when people asked me to explain what Twitter was).