UPDATE 1-Google's Chrome browser to be available on Apple's iPad, iPhone

Thu Jun 28, 2012 4:00pm EDT

By Alexei Oreskovic and Gerry Shih

SAN FRANCISCO, June 28 (Reuters) - Google Inc's Chrome, the world's top Internet browser, is now available on the iPhone and iPad, as Apple Inc finally granted access to its arch-foe's more popular Web-surfing app.

At Google's annual I/O developer conference in San Francisco on Thursday, company executives announced the development as well as a limited launch of a cloud-computing and hosting service to take on Amazon.com's thriving Web services arm.

Both moves underscore how Google is moving quickly to safeguard its dominant Internet presence.

Launched in 2008, Google's browser overtook Microsoft Corp's Internet Explorer in May as the world's most popular, according to analytics company StatCounter.

"No matter which device you're using, we are working really hard across all important software platforms," Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai said. "We want to make sure it's about the user."

Chrome has 310 million "active" users, Pichai said. Google's browser, along with Google Drive, the cloud storage service, will begin appearing in Apple's App Store for download later on Thursday, Google said.

Apple, which closely manages its App Store offerings, is making the concessions to its heated competitor even though it is seeking to lessen its dependency on Google's Web services within its products. Earlier this month, the phone and tablet manufacturer said it would load its own home-built mapping service, instead of Google Maps, in the next version of its mobile operating system.

The move heightened competition with Google, which has made inroads in making hardware that could challenge Apple products.

Earlier this week, Google unveiled its own tablet, the Nexus 7, which will ship with Chrome as its default browser. Google is hoping the tablet, priced at $199, will directly challenge Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet and undercut Apple's popular iPad.

AMAZON WARRIOR

Google also unveiled a cloud infrastructure service that will compete with Amazon's Web Service. Called Google Compute Engine, the new service will provide hosting for Web companies on Google's datacenters.

Google did not announce the pricing on Compute Engine. But in an oblique reference to Amazon, Google executives promised "up to 50 percent more computing power for your dollar than competing cloud services."

Google said Thursday it would make Compute Engine available on a "limited preview" basis.