Chrome App Gestures: Comparing iOS and Android

We look at how users use mobile web. That means we look at a lot of things like (a) what browsers they use, (b) how they use those browsers, (c) how those browsers use engage them. For example, you wouldn’t be surprised to know that the mobile version of the Chrome browser on iOS differs slightly from the one on Android powered devices.

To explain how we work, and how our approach to user engagement operates, we bring an interesting example of the differences found on the Chrome browser, and the way different gestures operate on those devices.

The chrome browser is generally unified in terms of its look and feel across the platforms. The Chrome home screen consists of a new tab with a search box and recent sites. For the trained eye, differences are discernable already on the home screen. iOS Chrome displays an address box at the top, while Android Chrome does not. Can you tell which other differences appear?

Functional differences also occur upon clicking the search box or entering a site, but let’s dive deeper into how web surfing works across the platforms on the chrome app. Gestures generally work the same on the websites opened in the chrome browser across the difference operating systems. Gestures such as ‘zoom’, ‘swipe’ or ‘scroll’ don’t differ in the way they operate. But some of the shortcuts made possible by these gestures are applied in a different way throughout the browser interfaces. We’d assume the reasons vary. Here’s two prominent examples:

Text selection: on iOS, text selection (a simple double tap or long touch of the work or text section) selects the texts with a cursor and opens a selection option tool set. Android chrome does this a little differently, popping up a top bar with its own set of tools.

Tab swiping: An iOS user often drags right or left on the screen for ‘back’ and ‘forward’ commands between pages or tags.

We don’t take sides, but speaking from a developer’s perspective, it seems gestures operate a little smoother on iOS. Perhaps this enables iOS Chrome to offer some nicer features. These are features iOS users are more used to, ummm…. using. This is evident in the stats we see on our end, where users on iOS use this gesture a lot more, while Android users are of course enamored with their ‘back’ button.

We believe that publishers or advertisers looking to engage mobile users beyond regular display banners should look at how their properties behave across environments like this. Gone are the days of desktop screens dominating the market, where the user’s window to the internet was rigid. Mobile opens a new set of engagement opportunities, which require a detailed understanding of how different user segments behave, engaging them in smarter, more natural products, that fit their natural mobile screen behavior. Stop clicking, start engaging.

See our set of monetization products for more details are