Google is celebrating the 5th birthday of the uber popular browser by introducing what they refer to as ‘A new breed of Chrome Apps’. The new Apps will be native to Chrome, so they actually do need the Chrome browser but will operate outside the browser on your Windows or ChromeOS device (Mac and Linux coming soon).
The new features being offered in Chrome Apps are :
- Work offline: Keep working or playing, even when you don’t have an internet connection.
- More app, less Chrome: No tabs, buttons or text boxes mean you can get into the app without being distracted by the rest of the web.
- Connect to the cloud: Access and save the documents, photos and videos on your hard drive as well as on Google Drive and other web services.
- Stay up-to-speed: With desktop notifications, you can get reminders, updates and even take action, right from the notification center.
- Play nice with your connected devices: Interact with your USB, Bluetooth and other devices connected to your desktop, including digital cameras.
- Keep updated automatically: Apps update silently, so you always get all the latest features and security fixes (unless permissions change).
- Pick up where you left off: Chrome syncs your apps to any desktop device you sign in to, so you can keep working.
- Sleep easier: Chrome apps take advantage of Chrome’s built-in security features such as Sandboxing. They also auto-update to make sure you have all the latest security fixes. No extra software (or worrying) required.
- Launch apps directly from your desktop: To make it quicker and easier to get to your favorite apps, we’re also introducing the Chrome App Launcher for Windows, which will appear when you install your first new Chrome App. It lives in your taskbar and launches your apps into their own windows, outside of Chrome, just like your desktop apps. Have lots of apps? Navigate to your favorite apps using the search box.
A heap of new Apps have been introduced to show off the new Apps and are being housed in a new section of the Web Store called ‘For your Desktop‘. The apps highlighted on the Google Blog include –
Pixlr Touch Up a Native app that allows you to quickly touch up, crop, resize and adjust photos from your computer or Google Drive.
Wunderlist A simple to-do list that offers a heap of different options like voice dictation, desktop notifications.
And Cracking Sands a racing game that allowws you to play online or just computer generated opponents, that even integrates with your USB Xbox controller.
The new native apps, offer a real shot at becoming more relevant, the biggest argument most people have had against using ChromeOS as a more mainstream option has been the fairly limited offline capability. With Native Apps, this all changes. There are some amazing things to look at here.
For additional reading, The Verge has a fantastic writeup which includes interviews with the Chrome team talking about the transition to Chrome Apps.