"It’s a tough question for us."
That’s what Google SVP of Chrome Sundar Pichai told me when I asked him about the possibility of Chrome launching on iOS one day. I ask, of course, because Chrome just launched in beta for Android users (well, Ice Cream Sandwich users) today.
But not all hope is lost. Because both Chrome and Safari are built upon the same WebKit layout engine it should be easier to bring Chrome to iOS than say, Firefox, which uses Gecko. Apple and Google are both big contributors to WebKit itself.
Still, a Chrome app for iOS would likely be largely what the other browsers available on iOS are: re-skinned versions of Mobile Safari (a wrapper for UIWebView). But that might not be all bad — Mobile Safari still offers a smoother browsing experience when compared to this new Mobile Chrome, as I laid out in my review.
It would be fantastic to get some of the Mobile Chrome UI elements on iOS. For one thing, the multi-tab experience is much better (and sort of Apple-like). And, of course, sync across browsers would be killer to have on iOS devices as well.
I suspect Google is thinking about Chrome for iOS more closely than they lead on. Chrome directly leads to more searches, which is what Google is all about. And it would do that on iOS as well. But if we do see anything, it will probably be a while.