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Google Has ‘No Current Plans’ to Bring Chrome to Windows Phone

screenshot of windows phone chrome

Unlikely to happen …for now

Google has ‘no current plans’ to make a native Windows Phone Chrome app, one of the browser’s developers has said.

The update comes several months after a Chromium developer was assigned to investigate the feasibility of porting the browser to Microsoft’s mobile platform.

‘No Plans’

Google Software EngineerCarlos Pizano, who reopened the bug tracking the feature request, provided an update on the current status of the issue on the Chromium Issue Tracker.

And the news isn’t good: 

“[There are] No current plans that I am aware of. Chrome needs more privileges than a regular metro app so there is no simple port.”

‘No Simple Port’

Microsoft’s restrictions on how ‘Metro Apps’ work, what they can do and how they do it was always going to present a headache for Chromium developers looking to support the platform.

The requirement to build on the Internet Explorer rendering engine rather than using its own would see users get a less familiar window on the web than that offered on iOS, much less Android.

No Change There Then

Not that this rebasing approach has been dismissed entirely. Carlos suggests that it might be ‘feasible’ for a third-party developer to create a Chrome-style wrapper around the rendering engine. Even so, it is highly unlikely that any such project would gain the official stamp of approval from Google, and would almost certainly lack many of the features that make Chrome Chrome elsewhere (e.g., bookmarks sync, omnibar integration, Google Now, etc.).

But technical complexity or not, this news keeps thing a smidge consistent. Google is yet to formally bring any of its services to Windows Phone (or Windows 8) bar a solitary ‘search app’.  Demand is there; the Windows App Store is awash in third-party apps promising ‘the best’ YouTube, Gmail, Google Calendar and Maps experiences.

Microsoft may prefer having a tight grip over its app ecosystem, but some leeway in current rules may convince the developers and users staying at arm’s length to come in for a closer look. 

  • Michael Johnson

    Don’t care… But what about Hangouts? That’s just about the only Google app that I think really needs to be in WP…

  • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

    I’ve heard Microsoft will make programming for WP and Windows pretty much the same thing… Like building an app for regular Windows will enable it for use on Windows Phone. If there is already Chrome for Windows [8] then with time it might work with WP effortlessly.

    • miri

      There isn’t. Microsoft has browser restrictions on Win8 (Modern UI) as well.

      • http://petercast.net Peterson Silva

        Oh, I see.. A bummer for WP users, I guess.

      • http://whizzer0.bandcamp.com whizzer0

        No, the Chrome Metro app runs fine on my x64 laptop, and it’s designed to resemble and work like Chrome OS. Unfortunately I switched to Linux.

        • Kryptis3

          You have to be kidding me, your x64 laptop, is just a x86_64 laptop. It’s still an x86 device.

      • Heimen Stoffels

        Actually, MS only has those restrictions on Windows 8.x RT, not on Windows 8.x Pro.

  • Victor Who

    Windows Phone is not even a player in the smartphone-mobile space. When it finally does…IF it does, then Google should consider developing Chrome for Windows Phone.

    • http://twitter.com/d0od Joey-Elijah Sneddon

      Hmm, I’m not sure I’d dismiss it out of hand so readily. It’s not the dominant player (and is unlikely ever to be) but it’s carving out a fairly solid % for itself since the introduction of WP8 (around 10% of the mobile OS market in Europe). And with the recent foray into China, I suspect its adoption will only continue to grow.

      • MrTrunky

        2.7% global market share is ridiculous.

        • http://twitter.com/d0od Joey-Elijah Sneddon

          It’s not great, admittedly.

          Now when you take the US out of the equation it does rises up a fair bit, but even its european growth has started to slow a little. Of course, we’re still largely in the last throes of the Ballmer era. I think that Windows Threshold/WP9 hits we’ll start to see a lot more of Nadella’s vision helping to accelerate growth.

    • http://maitreyavyas.in/ Maitreya Vyas

      Not forgetting that in India it’s second most used mobile OS after Android.

  • kiiik

    Dafuq? Chrome on Windows Phone???

  • http://whizzer0.bandcamp.com whizzer0

    Umm… You know iOS has the exact same restriction, right? Other browsers have to use a version of Safari that’s actually worse than the app itself.

    • rheerani

      But Chrome and Safari have similar rendering engines, and if you read the article the words used suggest that the experience of Chrome on iOS is worse than on Android and it’ll be even worse on WP because of the rendering engine used. Though going from recent developments the IE rendering engine may get good enough for them to reconsider but I won’t bet on it.

      • MrMiketheripper

        And iirc, with iOS8 third party browsers will be able to use the nitro engine (i believe that’s what it’s called).

      • Heimen Stoffels

        But Chrome utilizes features from Webkit (or now, Blink) so unless MS implements all of those things in Trident, a Chrome on Trident port to Windows Phone is not gonna happen.

        • rheerani

          I know that and I am not disputing that point, I was just correcting whizzer and I won’t bet on my last point for exactly the same reason you pointed out.

          P.S. – Forgive my English.

  • warex3d

    We WP users don’t care.

  • Reese

    And Microsoft isn’t likely to make IE available on Android, so what’s the big deal?

    • Heimen Stoffels

      Apples to oranges. Chrome is a cross-platform browser (Win, Mac, Linux, ChromeOS, iOS, Android), IE is a Windows (and Windows Phone) only browser. MS has no plans to make IE cross-platform whatsoever. Unlike Google, who already made Chrome cross-platform.

      • Michael Goff

        Chrome on iOS is not Chrome. It’s Safari with a new skin and a few other changes.

        • SolarShane13

          And the most stupidest comment award goes to…..

          • Michael Goff

            And yet amazingly enough you can’t refute it.

            So I guess the award goes to you?

    • SolarShane13

      And Google isn’t likely to bring Chrome to it’s top competitor, iOS. Oh, wait. They did.

      • Michael Goff

        That’s because Chrome is built on WebKit and that’s the engine they’re using on iOS. If they were built on, say, Gecko? Well, there wouldn’t even be the fake Chrome on iOS that there is now.

        • SolarShane13

          Fake Chrome? Um, Chrome IS Chrome!

          • Michael Goff

            Chrome is more than a UI. Chrome is a browser built using Chromium, which either has a special WebKit build or Blink depending on which version. It has a specific JS engine. It has specific extensions. I has a lot of specific things that it doesn’t have on iOS.

  • Lukee

    Not needed. IE is very very fast on WP, only missing feature is bookmark sync however some apps for Chrome’s sync already exists.

    • Danmansonman

      Bookmark sync does exist in Windows phone, 8.1 anyway.

  • Michael Goff

    Google not wanting to make a app for WP? I, for one, am shocked. They have a great Hangouts app, and they have a great YouTube app, so I definitely imagined they’d be trying for this as well.
    And yes, that was sarcasm.

  • Danmansonman

    Meh, IE on Windows phone 8.1 is blemin nice to use anyway.