Google Chrome and Drive come to Apple iOS devices

Muddying up the turf battle: The Android powerhouse is making it easier for Apple users to take advantage of Google's browser and storage service.

Google Drive is now available on iOS. James Martin/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO -- Google announced at its annual developer conference Thursday that its Chrome browser and its Google Drive, a Dropbox-like storage service, are coming to Apple iOS devices.

Adding the Google browser to iOS devices means Google users will be able to get a more consistent experience across multiple devices, including their iPhones and iPads. Brian Rakowski, vice president of Chrome, showed off how the browser will work on iOS devices.

Specifically, he showed how the sync feature that Google recently added to Chrome will work on iOS devices. Sync allows people to share their browser settings across multiple devices when they're signed in using their Google credentials. This means tabs you have open on your computer can be accessed when you're in the Chrome browser on your smartphone.

And now all these features will also work on Apple iOS devices.

Google also announced that its Drive service, which lets people store and share documents, will now work on iOS devices as well. The service will also work on Chrome OS devices.

"We brought many of the best features of Drive to mobile," said Clay Bavor, director of product for Google Apps.

Google launched the Drive service (formerly known as Google Docs) about 10 weeks ago. Already the company says 10 million users are signed up to use it. One of the great features of Drive that Bavor showed off during the keynote was that images can be scanned and stored as PDF files in Google Drive. And using Google search technology, they're searchable.

One of the demonstrations showed how you could scan a postal receipt and then search for it in your Drive files. And photos are also searchable, even if they aren't properly labeled. For example, a picture of someone taken at the Great Pyramid in Egypt can be stored in Google Drive, and you can find it by typing in "Photos of us at the pyramids." Even though there was no label that said "pyramids," the Google technology is able to recognize the picture as one taken in front of the pyramids.

All this functionality, which Google had enabled for desktops and laptops, will now be available on mobile devices and in particular Apple iOS devices, such as the iPhone and iPad.

Update, 12:20 p.m. PT: Adds more detail, including information on searchability of images stored on Drive.

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