By Jim Karpen on Fri, 01/17/2014
Google yesterday announced a new version of their free Chrome web browser that has some great features. Plus, they launched a new app that lets you view movies and TV shows that you've purchased in the Google Play store. An important new feature of Chrome is an option for compressing data, meaning that you use up to 50 percent less of your data allotment when browsing the web. If you turn on this feature, the app uses Google's servers to compress the web pages that you're accessing before they appear on your iPhone or iPad. This new feature also enables Safe Browsing, which protects you from malicious web pages so you don't inadvertently download spyware or viruses. When you open the Chrome browser, it automatically explains this new option and presents you with a screen to enable it. You can subsequently toggle it on and off in the settings panel for Chrome. Tap the settings icon at the top right in Chrome, then select Bandwidth, and then Reduce Data Usage. You'll see a screen that lets you turn the feature on and off and that shows your data savings. (See screenshot.)
In addition, Google announced yesterday on the Google Chrome Blog that in the coming days they will be integrating Google Translate into Chrome. You'll be able to have Chrome translate pages in other languages with just the click of a button. When you access a page in another language, a translation option appears at the bottom. Tap it, and you get the translated page.
Yesterday Google also released Google Play Movies & TV (free) in the App Store. If you've purchased movies or TV shows on an Android device or your computer, you can use this app to watch them. However, you can't purchase or rent videos via the app (likely because Google doesn't want to give Apple a 30-percent cut). You'll need to do so via your computer or Android device. Until now you could use the YouTube app to access your Google Play content by logging in to your Google account and going to the Purchases menu in the app. But it's nice having a dedicated app for Google Play with an attractive, clean interface. (Unfortunately, for some reason I'm not getting any sound, though. Likely a temporary glitch.)
These are great offerings from Google. It's good to see their continued focus on their apps for iOS devices.