Google May 19 introduced the Chrome Web Store to make it easier for the roughly 70 million users of the Google Chrome Web browser to not only find Web apps, but create shortcuts in Chrome to access them easier. Developers will be able to sell their apps through the store, which will open later this year. Google has essentially taken a page out of the playbooks of Apple's App Store and the Android Market for the Chrome Web Store.
Google May 19 introduced the Chrome Web Store to make it easier for users to
browse and download the thousands of free and paid Web apps on the market.
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 Chrome to access
Developers will be able sell their apps through the store, said Sundar
Pichai, vice president of product management for Google. Pichai previewed the
Web Store at Google I/O in San Francisco.
"It is very hard for users to find Web applications," Pichai
noted, adding that people used to go to retail stores to buy software off the
shelves. Thanks to the rise of AJAX
in 2004, the times have changed.
The Web is littered with, to use Pichai's example, apps for the game of
chess. However, finding centralized reviews and ratings about these chess apps
to help decide which one is the best has proved to be difficult to impossible.
To that end, the Chrome Web Store is essentially an app gallery featuring
apps for magazines, productivity tools and, yes, games such as chess.
Like the iPhone App Store, Android Market and other mobile forebears, the
Web Store will sport ratings, reviews and a payment system by which developers
can sell apps for consumers to purchase.
"It should be easy to create and sell a premium application on the
Web," Pichai said.
During a demonstration, Pichai showed how Web apps were added to the Web
Store and appeared as big icons in the Chrome Web Store palette that users can
drag and drop.
Pichai played the games "Plants & Zombies," "Lego Star
Wars" and "Dark Room," with a cost of $4.99. See screenshots on Gizmodo here.
Terry McDonell, managing editor of Sports Illustrated, then triggered the
SI's Web application in the Web Store with a single click. Engadget has pics of
this app running in Chrome here.
Apps in the store support Adobe's Flash software and other standard Web
technologies. The move is part of Google's efforts to make Web apps the rule
and not the exception to classic on-premises applications users download to their
That is the thrust behind not only Chrome but Chrome Operating System, the
broader platform on which Chrome will run Web apps. Chrome OS is expected to run on netbooks from Acer, Asus, Hewlett-Packard
and other computer makers in the latter half of 2010.
With more and more apps built on the emergent HTML5 markup language coming
to the fore, Google wants to make sure it has the mechanisms in place to get
more users consuming games, social apps and productivity tools.
The Web Store is one such outlet. The Web Store is not yet available, but
will be later this year for Chrome on Windows, Mac and Linux and Chrome OS,
Pichai said. Those who want more information, including preliminary
documentation, may go here.
Meanwhile, Chrome is growing fast. Pichai noted that Chrome had 30 million
users in June 2009, but has more than doubled that number to 70 million and a 6.7 percent browser market share with minimal advertising.
However, the company has begun advertising Chrome in earnest on popular Websites such
as the New York Times and ESPN.com.