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Chrome for iOS gets Material Design, now supports OS X's Handoff

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Google has released a pretty big update to Chrome for iOS that refreshes the browser's appearance with the company's signature Material Design. The app's gradually been getting there after recent updates, but today's — version 40 — is most clearly influenced by Android 5.0 Lollipop. And though Chrome has been optimized for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus for months now, today's revision adds further improvements for iOS 8. Google also notes that Chrome has gained full support for the great Handoff feature found in OS X Yosemite.

Jump from phone to Mac and back again

When using your iPhone or iPad near your Mac, you can now simply click an icon in your OS X dock to pick up where you left off. For Macs, Handoff will open whichever browser is set as your default — so you may be jumping from Chrome to Safari if you haven't changed that preference. You can send pages from Chrome on Macs back to Chrome on iOS, as well. Is it that much more useful than tab syncing? Probably not, but Continuity still feels pretty cool and remains one of the best things about Apple's desktop software.

Unfortunately, as Ars Technica notes, Google still isn't taking advantage of the faster Nitro JavaKit engine that Apple opened up to third-party developers with the launch of iOS 8. That's what Apple's own Safari uses, and is a big reason why it's always been noticeably faster than competing browsers. Google's now got full access to it and can put Chrome on equal footing in terms of web browsing speed, but still hasn't gotten around to it. So if Chrome feels a bit sluggish in comparison, now you know why. Hopefully resolving that hindrance is next on the agenda.