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Packaged Apps Added to Chrome Webstore for Windows & Chrome OS Dev Users

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Google has today announced that Packaged Apps are available to install from the Chrome Web Store – but only for Dev Channel users on Chrome OS or Windows.

Packaged Apps are able to do things web-based apps can’t, including accessing parts of your computer, like network and hardware devices, media tools, etc.

Because of this additional support packaged apps are able to look and work like traditional native system apps – despite being written in the same technologies as web apps.

Amongst the (seemingly hundreds of) packaged apps already available are some popular favourites:

  • Cut The Rope – game
  • Gliffy - diagram maker
  • The Economist – online publication
  • Weatherbug – Weather app
The Weatherbug Packaged App on Windows 8

The Weatherbug Packaged App on Windows 8

The awesome packaged-app CIRC - an IRC client for Chrome – isn’t yet listed in the ‘App’ category, though it is available to install from the Web Store using a direct link.

Listing Changes

In addition to adding Packaged Apps to the Web Store Chrome Dev users will also notice something else different: existing web-apps, web-links and legacy packaged apps are now housed under a new category in the sidebar titled ‘Websites’.

packaged-apps-online

Listing Changes for Chrome Dev Users

Theme and Extension listing remain unchanged.

Browse Packaged Apps

Chrome Dev Channel users on Windows or Chrome OS can browse and install packaged apps from the Chrome Webstore. Hit the link below to go straight there.

Browse Packaged Apps on Chrome Web Store

Note that visiting this link from non-Dev-Channel Chrome, or Dev Channel on Mac or Linux, will redirect you to the standard Chrome Web Store.

  • http://profiles.google.com/aleksander.helgaker Aleksander Helgaker

    Interesting. They are now calling the original apps websites. Does this mean the focus will be moving towards more native apps for Chrome OS? It seems like Chrome OS is becoming more and more a full featured operating system. Will packaged apps work just as well on chrome browser on for example Windows and Linux, or will these only function properly on Chrome OS? Also I’m surprised by how many packaged apps there are already.

    The more I see Chrome OS develop, the more interested I am in getting a Chromebook Pixel. I hope they introduce a Pixel with Haswell and Norwegian keyboard after the summer. If they do, I would seriously consider one. I’m still hoping they will implement support for third party cloud services though. I use skydrive for my files as it integrates well with the word web app which I use to write documents on my chromebook. An API to support third party cloud services has been suggested by one of the chromium os developers https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=226233. Maybe you could write an article about that? It would be a very welcome feature as I love my Samsung Chromebook, but am not a big fan of Google Drive.

    • Sam Tran

      There was indeed an article a few weeks ago about third party cloud service support (linking to the same suggestion as well): http://www.omgchrome.com/dropbox-skydrive-in-chrome-os-files-app/ . Dropbox is still my go-to cloud service as its syncing has been flawless in my experience compared to Google Drive’s inconsistency, so I feel your pain.

      As for packaged apps, I’ve only found a couple of APIs that are Chrome OS specific (e.g., http://developer.chrome.com/extensions/fileBrowserHandler.html ), but in my own experience with developing packaged apps, the biggest issue tends to be API changes between Chrome versions more so than across platforms.

      • http://profiles.google.com/aleksander.helgaker Aleksander Helgaker

        Well that’s great. Hope it happens. Would be nice if my SkyDrive and GDrive could live side by side in the file manager. I am also thinking about using Ubuntu One for music streaming of songs that aren’t on Spotify (for example AC/DC and Beatles). There’s no Google Play Music here in Norway yet.

  • Tahin Rahman

    Can you give the url of the “Cut the rope” packaged app?

  • DavesWilliams

    How does one try the dev channel on windows 7? Im using beta on win7 now.

  • DavesWilliams

    nevermind found it…

  • http://aproposnix.tumblr.com/ Aproposnix Jones

    If anyone wants to download the packaged apps in Ubuntu just change your user agent to a chrome windows version. Not all apps have worked for me so far (specifically the weather app will not run) but most have (including cut the rope).