A new breed of Chrome Apps

September 5th, 2013

Editor’s note: Today marks the 5th birthday of Chrome, a project we started to push the web platform forward. From a humble beginning of static text, images and links, the web has grown into a rich platform teeming with interactive content and powerful applications. We’ve been astounded by how far the web has come and are very excited to see what developers around the world will be able to do with the new generation of Chrome Apps.

Today we’re unveiling a new kind of Chrome App, which brings together the speed, security and flexibility of the modern web with the powerful functionality previously only available with software installed on your devices. (Think apps designed for your desktop or laptop, just like the ones for your phone and tablet.) These apps are more powerful than before, and can help you get work done, play games in full-screen and create cool content all from the web. If you’re using Windows or a Chromebook, you can check them out in the “For your desktop” collection in the Chrome Web Store (Mac & Linux coming soon).

Here’s what you can expect with new Chrome Apps:

  • 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.

The new Chrome app launcher

Of course, even with all this great stuff happening behind-the-scenes, the apps are what really matter. We know many of you doing enjoy things like photo editing, checking off your to-do’s or unwinding with games, so here are a few Chrome apps to get you started:

Explore and create

Pixlr Touch Up lets you quickly touch up, crop, resize and adjust photos from your computer or Google Drive. If you’re feeling dramatic, you can also choose from a variety of film-inspired effects to apply. And it works offline, so you can get a head start polishing up your vacation photos on your flight home.

Other creativity apps worth checking out: 

Until.AM, The Economist, Pocket, 500px and more

Get stuff done

Wunderlist is a beautiful and simple to-do list, which features voice dictation and desktop notifications, which remind you of timely tasks and team updates. And for those on the move, you can take your tasks with you from computer to computer, and manage them even if you’re offline.

Other productivity apps worth checking out:

UberConference, Gliffy, Lucid Chart, Google Keep and more

Be entertained

Cracking Sands is an action-packed racing game that lets you speed your way past your online or computer opponents through beautiful 3D courses. And for those looking for more precise control, you can even connect your Xbox controller via USB.

Other games worth checking out:

Tank Riders, Spelunky, They Need to be Fed and more

We hope you enjoy what you see in the Chrome Web Store. And please share your favorite new Chrome Apps in the comments below.

Posted by Erik Kay, Engineering Director and Chrome App-ologist