Google Chrome for Apple iOS is now open source

opensourceThere is a curious phenomenon on iOS -- Google's apps are often better on Apple's mobile operating system than on Android. It is for this reason that users of the search-giant's services can be perfectly content using an iPhone or iPad.

Google Chrome is a very popular web browser on iOS, with many folks choosing it over Safari. I prefer Apple's own browser, but I digress. The Chrome browser is largely open source, as it is based on the Chromium project -- except for the iOS variant, that is. Today, for the first time ever, the iPhone and iPad version of the browser is open source too.

"Due to constraints of the iOS platform, all browsers must be built on top of the WebKit rendering engine. For Chromium, this means supporting both WebKit as well as Blink, Chrome's rendering engine for other platforms. That created some extra complexities which we wanted to avoid placing in the Chromium code base," says Rohit Rao, Google.

Rao further shares, "Given Chrome's commitment to open-source code, we've spent a lot of time over the past several years making the changes required to upstream the code for Chrome for iOS into Chromium. Today, that upstreaming is complete, and developers can compile the iOS version of Chromium like they can for other versions of Chromium. Development speed is also faster now that all of the tests for Chrome for iOS are available to the entire Chromium community and automatically run any time that code is checked in."

What does this mean for end-users? Well, they can now comb through the code looking for bugs and vulnerabilities -- something that could make them more comfortable from a security standpoint. Let's be honest though, most users of the browser are not code literate. With that said, security researches will appreciate this greatly.

If you are interested in poking around or compiling the code yourself, you can view it here.

Photo CreditBildagentur Zoonar GmbH / Shutterstock

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