Chrome Apps and the Chrome App Launcher are now officially available in Chrome stable for the Mac.
Though packaged apps are nothing new and we’ve been reporting on the existence of the Chrome App Launcher since the feature first landed in Windows then the beta and dev channel for OS X, the launcher and a “new breed of Chrome Apps” are now available for OS X users.
The new “Chrome Apps” are set apart from other packaged apps in a special “For Your Desktop” collection in the Chrome Web Store. Like packaged apps in general, the Chrome Apps can make use of APIs that can access more filesystem resources, hardware, and even work offline. And it’s this last point that matters most: all the Chrome Apps “for your desktop” work offline.
Google tout that “Chrome Apps on Mac behave and feel just like native software”. Of course, given the cross-platform nature of Chrome packaged apps and the fact that these new style of Chrome Apps “for your desktop” are relatively new, that statement doesn’t always pan out.
Everything from out-of-place styling to window buttons on the wrong side of the title bar make it fairly obvious which apps aren’t quite as native as you thought. On the other hand, apps like Wunderlist very nearly nail the native look-and-feel.
The Chrome App Launcher is also making its official debut in Chrome for Mac. The Launcher is home to all of your installed apps and features a search box that can winnow the list of apps or search the web in general. The launcher was available to Chrome stable users behind a flag, but should now show up in the Dock if a new Chrome App is installed.
The powerful APIs available to Chrome Apps and the ability to run apps outside the browser make Chrome a more formidable force than ever before in taking over the desktop.