Chrome on iOS can now show maps and create calendar items without switching apps

Google Lens will soon use your camera for searches, too.


You no longer have to hop between apps just to perform some common tasks in Chrome on your iPhone. Google is updating Chrome for iOS with the option to see Maps addresses, create Calendar events and translate specific text without switching to the relevant app. You can find the location of a restaurant, remind yourself to visit that restaurant and decipher the menu all from one place.

A future upgrade will also make Google Lens considerably more useful. You'll have the option of searching with your camera, whether to take new pictures or draw from your camera roll. As on Android, this might be helpful if you spot a flower or must-have jacket and want to identify it on the spot. The functionality will be available in the "coming months."

You'll still need to use Google's dedicated apps for more advanced functions, such as driving directions in Maps or managing the rest of your itinerary. However, the additions should make Chrome more of a do-it-all app that saves time (and battery life) versus running multiple apps at once. That, in turn, may make Chrome more alluring than Safari as your iPhone's default browser.

The expansion comes soon after Google introduced Chrome Actions, or text-based shortcuts for popular browser tasks like clearing your browsing data and checking settings. Google has even been experimenting with using its own web engine in Chrome for iOS if and when Apple loosens its app policies. Simply put, the company is making Chrome more of a power user's tool.

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