Now that the Chrome Web Store has launched
, we should have a better understanding of what these Apps are all about, right? Well, not so much. These aren't your typical apps, after all -- so it's still a little confusing. Let's take a look at what you're actually installing.
Some Chrome Web Apps are simply links to existing apps like Aviary, Google Docs, Mibbit, and Picasa. There may be subtle, Chrome-only enhancements, of course -- such as notification support. For the most part, however, these apps will just give you a big, pretty icon that allows you to access apps you could already bookmark.
The New York Times app
is a bookmark as well. You can view the 'app' by visiting http://www.nytimes.com/chrome/
even if you haven't installed it from the Web Store and you'll still be able to use the touchpad nav controls and other enhancements.
exfm's Dan Kantor told me that the process to convert their App was incredibly simple and only required modifying a few lines of code. Again, these maybe slightly different than their extension counterparts because Chrome Apps have access to different APIs and permissions. For the most part, however, they'll look and function just like their extension cousins.
is a nice example of the potential differences -- as you can see below!
There are, of course, full-blown Chrome Apps in the Web Store. If you're looking for something to install which is a bit more like the programs you typically install on your computer, try TweetDeck
, or Quick Notes
. They're standalone Chrome Apps, and Quick Notes will even function while you're offline.
If you've found another App which falls into this category, share it with us in the comments! We're looking for more offline-capable apps to play with, too.