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Chrome for Android Beta Looks Gorgeous

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It's been a long time comin' but Google's (GOOG) Chrome for Android beta release is finally here.

Intended as a better link between your phone and your Chrome browser on your desktop, Chrome for Android syncs not only your bookmarks via your Google account, but also the tabs you have open on your computer. Compared to the stock Android browser, there's improved tab switching, a hyperlink zoom, better site pre-fetching, and a speed boost here and there.

And yes, there's incognito mode.

The Verge's Chris Ziegler and Joshua Topolsky delved into the much anticipated app and found Chrome for Android outperformed the stock Android 4.0 browser -- which is also no slouch against the iPhone 4S (AAPL) Safari browser either -- by 13%. While Ziegler admitted, "It's not going to revolutionize the way you browse on your phone or tablet," but he found the experience to be much smoother overall.

Along with the better UI and smoother scrolling, one of the most dynamic differences is tab management. Users can deftly swipe between tabs and spread them out like a deck of cards. Even with the occasional hiccup in the beta release, the animation during the process is intuitive and ultra-smooth.

Another nice addition is the Link Preview feature. As with the most web browsing on tiny mobile screens, a fat clumsy finger will occasionally tap the wrong link within a tiny cluster. With Link Preview, the app senses adjacent links and will invoke a zoomed-in window -- like iOS' magnifying glass when selecting text -- which will help in choosing the correct link. Ziegler noted, however, that the feature still needs some tinkering.

All in all, Chrome to Android looks to be a welcome addition to the fleet of Android browsers and could even help increase Google Chrome's market share against Microsoft's (MSFT) steadily shrinking Internet Explorer.

But the bad news: The beta is only available for devices running Ice Cream Sandwich, which relegates it to only a handful of existing products. Waiting will be the hardest part.

Check out The Verge's review of the app here.


And here's Google's promo for the browser.


(See also: Apple iTV Already Exists, Say Sources and iPhone Can't Match Android's Versatility, Says Steve Wozniak)

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