The new apps are similar to what the Chrome Web Store already offers, but instead of launching in the usual looking browser, it launches sans address bar and navigations buttons, essentially making them look and feel more like desktop apps you’re used to using on PCs or Macs.
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Chrome Apps also work offline without an internet connection, so there’s no need to stay connected if you really don’t need to or really can’t.
The Chrome Apps can be launched directly from the desktop too, using the Chrome App Launcher that will be automatically installed the first time you download a Chrome App.
While they’re built mostly using standardized Web technologies, there’s also some Chrome-specific coding in there too, so they’ll only play nicely with the Chrome browser.
Some of the Chrome Apps available to download now include 500px, Pixlr Touch Up, The Economist, Pocket, Wunderlist, Gliffy and Google Keep, among others. There are also games like Cracking Sands, Tank Riders, Spelunky, They Need to be Fed.
As they act more like desktop apps, they can also plug into and access devices connected to your computer like its storage, camera, ports, Bluetooth connection and other hardware features.
The move could be seen as acknowledgement from the company that its Chromebook devices and Chrome OS could have been slightly ahead of their time in trying to provide permanently connected devices, although Google did later add offline functionality for some Chrome apps.
Nonetheless, in trying to get the public at large used to installing software in a similar way they would with desktop operating systems or on their phones, but in a browser, there’s no doubt that with Chrome Apps Google certainly hasn’t given up on the idea of having a fully-fledged platform beyond Android.
For now though, Chrome Apps will only work on Chrome for Windows or Chrome OS.
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