Chrome for Android finally out of beta at version 18 (but now it’s really, really good)

chrome

And we used to make fun of Microsoft for releasing crappy early versions of software, only to get it right later on. As the Google I/O news drowns out everything else in the tech-0-sphere today, Google announced that Chrome for Android is finally out of beta.

The software has just been updated on the Google Play store, at version 18.0.1025123. No, that number is not a joke.

It already has a 4-star rating out of almost 30,000 reviews, so like most Google products that are in beta, the software was already fairly well received.

Building on the familiar Chrome experience of searching and entering URLs in the same area, the beta finalizes new features that were seen as early as February. It’s good timing too, since Firefox just released a strong contender in the browser-for-Android-devices market.

Google says the updated mobile browser has “accelerated page loading, scrolling, and zooming” and automatically syncs with your desktop Chrome browser, so all your tabs, passwords, and bookmarks are identical whether you’re in the office or on the road.

One cool feature: To swipe from one tab to another, simply “flip through tabs the way you would fan a deck of cards.” You can see the effect in the video below.

Early user reviews are good, with some of the following being posted just today in reference to the new update:

David:
Love it — so much better than old stock browser….

Luke:
Best browser — Replaced stock browser on HTC one x, which is already extremely good. Fast, responsive, and excellent use of tabs.

But some are not sold yet:

Nikolas
Decent — lack of fullscreen browsing is still a bummer. I don’t want to burn in the address bar on my Nexus screen.

Here’s your own quick look at what the latest Chrome has to offer:

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Don’t use Chrome? Here’s a video of an earlier Chrome beta that will give you a sense of how it works:


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