At its software developers conference in San Francisco, Google announced...

At its software developers conference in San Francisco, Google announced that its browser Chrome will become available to the iPad and iPhone through the Apple App Store. Credit: Getty Images, 2005

Google's Chrome browser can now be used to surf the Web on the iPhone and iPad.

The Chrome application released Thursday is the latest volley in the escalating rivalry between Google and Apple, the maker of the popular mobile devices.

Google's attempt to supplant Apple Inc.'s own Safari browser comes a day after it unveiled its plans to sell a low-priced tablet computer to compete against the iPad and Inc.'s Kindle Fire.

The arrival of Chrome on Apple's mobile operating system comes a month after Yahoo Inc. released a browser called Axis for the iPhone and iPad.

Unlike Axis, however, Chrome already has emerged as one of the most popular alternatives to Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer on traditional computers.

Google Inc. revealed Thursday that Chrome now has 310 million active users, up from 160 million a year ago.

Since Google released the browser in 2008, Chrome also has become the foundation for an operating system powering a line of lightweight laptops that debuted last year. The so-called Chromebooks are expanding beyond online sales channels to 100 Best Buy stores in the U.S. beginning Thursday. Google last month announced its plans to rely on Best Buy to sell the devices, which so far haven't made much of a dent in the personal computer market.

Apple in recent months has sought to lessen its dependency on Google's Web services within its products, heightening the competition between the two tech companies. Earlier this month, the phone and tablet manufacturer said it would load its own mapping service in next version of mobile OS instead of Google Maps.

Earlier this week, Google announced its own tablet, the Nexus 7, which will ship with Chrome as its default browser.

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