Google's Chromium developers are working on a new iOS browser that will adopt Google's Blink Engine and not Apple's WebKit
The UK's Register tech site reported yesterday that Google's Chromium developers have begun work on an experimental web browser for Apple's iOS using the search giant's Blink engine.
Google's project, a content_shell iOS port, would not be allowed on iOS if it were turned into a release-ready browser. Yet, Google, for some reason, is pursuing this."
Apple's rules have been a sore point among competitors and the web development community for years. Critics have argued that Apple's browser restrictions – which turn every iOS browser into a Safari clone, more or less – make web applications less capable and less attractive. That steers developers toward writing native platform apps for iOS, over which Apple has gatekeeping and monetary powers.
The latest questioning of Apple's authority came from the US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which has just issued a report calling for changes to the mobile app ecosystem to promote competition.
The NTIA report echoes concerns raised by other regulators like the UK Competition and Markets Authority, and competition authorities in Australia and Japan. What's more, the European Digital Markets Act, which comes into effect next year, is expected to force Apple to allow third-party app stores and perhaps to alter its WebKit requirement.
the Chromium team's iOS Blink project has raised hopes among those who seek freedom from Apple's oversight. Open Web Advocacy, a group of developers who have lobbied for changes to Apple's policies, told The Register, "While Google has the money to invest in projects that might not be allowed to reach users, the timing of this feels very significant."
For more, read the full report by The Register.
Back in October 2022, Wired reported that "Gerard de Graaf, a veteran EU official who helped pass the DMA early this year stated that “If you have an iPhone, you should be able to download apps not just from the App Store but from other app stores or from the internet. The DMA requires dominant platforms to let in smaller competitors, and could also compel Meta’s WhatsApp to receive messages from competing apps like Signal or Telegram, or prevent Amazon, Apple, and Google from preferencing their own apps and services. This could obviously translate into alternative browsers using Google's Blink Engine as opposed to Apple's WebKit.
Then again, that's theoretical. I'm sure that Apple legal will attempt to fend off and complicate this potential trend relating to the use of Google's Blink Engine on iOS.
For those interested, you could read more about Google's Blink Rendering Engine here.
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