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Google Marks Chrome’s 5th Birthday with Packaged App Push

It’s Chrome’s fifth (yes, fifth!) birthday today and to mark the occasion Google has announced something special: ‘a new breed of Chrome App’.

Now, before you get too excited, I should point out this ‘new breed of Chrome App’ isn’t all that new at all – at least, not to any one who’s been following Chrome or this site. ‘Chrome App’ is the user-facing term for ‘Packaged App’.

Packaged Apps are a far cry from the traditional ‘web app’ They’re not stuck in a tab or exist as nothing more than ‘glorified bookmark’ to a website. Packaged Apps work more like ‘native’ desktop apps. They don’t require Chrome to be open to run, work fine offline, and are able to interact and access computer hardware like webcams, USB sticks and more.

Chrome Apps have been available to install from the Chrome Web Store for several months. But, from today, Google are giving them a visible push to more users through a new Web Store initiative called ‘For Your Desktop’. 

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 20.07.21

Google’s New Packaged App Promo: “For Your Desktop”

This groups together some of the more well-known Chrome Apps like Wunderlist, Pocket and Google Keep.

If you’re using Chrome for Windows (any channel) you’ll see the ‘For Your Desktop’ section highlighted in the store the next time you visit.

For those on Mac you’ll need to be using the Dev channel to see it today. Stable channel users will be able to take advantage of it in around 6 weeks or so.

Check our our Packaged App tag to see some of our favourite Chrome Apps. 

  • And after testing packaged apps, such as Weatherbug, I am sold!

  • Grumplestiltskin

    You’ll probably never mention it on this site, but packaged app JSTorrent is a lifesaver for those of us who don’t have access to HBO.

  • Mathspy

    Chrome is already making it happen! 1 year from now we will be deleting this Windows and installing the opensource free Chrome OS!
    Can’t wait for it <33

    • I agree with you mostly. I beleive web apps could take over the desktop if they continue to grow in functionality the way they are now. But Chrome OS itself is actually a closed source version of Chromium OS.

      • Mathspy

        I know, but after a few more versions I am pretty sure they may make it an opensource and if they didn’t, that’s okay. It will still be free, because with now the Chrome Apps, they can sell apps.
        So the more people with Chrome OS the better for them and that’s why they will make it available for installation for free.
        Imagine the shock on Microsoft and Apple XD

        • fahadayaz

          Chromium OS is open source. It has been since the beginning.

          Chromium OS is to Chrome OS, like Chromium is to Chrome. Everything is done open source in Chromium, then they package it up with the yellow branding and a few proprietary things and call it Chrome.

  • Jack Deuce

    Finally, offline Pocket for PC (with Chrome installed)

  • Boothy

    I love them, been using for a while in dev and then beta.
    All Google services, Evernote, and Pixlr Editor as packaged apps and I’ll be an even happier Chrome user than I am now……… :)

  • Boothy

    Oh, and a Skype Packaged App. Swap for a WP8 Youtube app??????

  • shadowguy14

    It’s about time Google!

  • This is where Google really pissed me off. All of those packaged apps (excluding Google+ Photos, which refuses to load images and only shows “Upload some photos to get started.” message) work on Linux without problems. So why the hell did Google restrict it only for Chrome OS, Win and OS X dev channels? I really don’t understand it…
    And due to a bug I can even see it in Chrome on my Elementary Desktop

    P.S. but aside of this, packaged apps are awesome things. Chrome OS will be usable for anything really soon.

    • Kenny Strawn

      Since Chrome OS IS Linux and IS 99.999999…% open source, I wouldn’t be surprised… Then again, the Windows Canary build (and soon the Linux Dev channel when 32 gets to it, supposedly) will bring the Chrome OS Aura/Ash desktop to other operating systems, so when that happens, it should be ready for prime time anyway…

      • Chrome OS is Linux, but Chrome on Chrome OS isn’t the same as Chrome on Linux.
        I don’t care when Linux will get Aura, I’m just angry because Google made stupid unnecessary restrictions.

  • Curtis Mitchell

    Nice but there isn’t a whole lot on there that I would find super useful. The weatherbug app looks nice but I would have hoped for a ticker I could have added to the desktop or my taskbar. Oh well.