Google introduced its Chrome Web Store May 19 at Google I/O, borrowing from the easy to browse, use and buy concept of mobile phone application stores such as Apple's App Store and the Google Android Market. Analysts say this concept could work given the difficulty in discovering Web applications on the Internet. Until Google decides to discuss the Web Store more, there will be many unanswered questions, including how Chrome Web Store will work with Chrome OS.
Little is known yet about Google's Chrome Web Store, but
the move takes a page straight out of the playbook of today's successful mobile
application stores, including Apple's iPhone App Store and Google's own Android
Market.Unveiled May 19 at Google I/O
, Chrome Web Store is an application gallery meant
to make it easier for users to browse and download thousands of free and paid
The store will enable the roughly 70 million users of the
Google Chrome Web browser to not only find Web apps, but create shortcuts in the
Google Chrome Web browser to access them easier.
"Discovery of available apps is a problem for the
average consumer," IDC analyst Al Hilwa told eWEEK May 20. "I am
surprised there still no app store for Windows PCs."
Hilwa added the concept of an app
store has proven to be a boon for the discovery of solutions on any
platform and is a concept that deserves to be emulated, so "I can
blame Google for using it."
Google anticipates many free apps for the Web Store,
which, similar to a mobile apps store, boasts ratings and reviews.
submit apps for sale in the Web Store will receive 70 percent of the revenues,
with the remainder going to Google. This matches the model for the Android
Market. App prices will average $2.99 to $3.99, which is in the ballpark of the
Moreover, the applications for Chrome Web Store Sundar Pichai, the director of
product management for Google, demoed on stage at
Google I/O were the kind of gaming applications people are used to playing on
their iPhone and Android smartphones. MugTug's Dark Room, for example, is
popular on the iPhone.
With so many similarities to the Android Market, which in
turn borrowed some of the notions of Apple's App Store, it's hard not to see
the parallels between Chrome Web Store and today's mobile app stores.
"I think they're starting to head in that direction,
but there are other aspects to the App Store," Gartner analyst Ray Valdes
told eWEEK May 20.
"The Apple App Store is a familiar interface, people
have been using it with iPods. They're used to buying stuff off of it and they
have 100 million credit cards on file. These are things that are hard for
anyone to replicate, though Google certainly has a leg up on it over some
others. But it's got a long ways to go to be a complete challenger."
Forrester Research analyst Jeffrey Hammond said
Chrome Web Store could work given the success of the App Store and Steam
, which sells games online.
One of the interesting twists, Hammond noted, was that Google is
allowing different Web technologies for the apps created for the store.
He added:"Google will take a technology
neutral approach the to the apps that are submitted. They can be HTML 5, or
Flash, or anything that will run in the Chrome browser, or perhaps in other
browsers as well. The Chrome apps store appears to be less about control and
more about connection - and to some developers that will make all the
difference in the world."
Pichai said Chrome Web Store will initially launch with
support for Chrome and Chrome Operating System only, adding that Google will
discuss the ins and outs for the Web Store later this year.
Until Google decides to discuss the Web Store more, there
will be many unanswered questions, including how Chrome Web Store will work
with Chrome OS, the underlying operating system on top of which the Chrome browser