Google's Chrome Web Store is unveiled, but not yet released. If you're running the latest Chrome Dev version or Chromium though, you can check out the early versions of the Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendar apps, as if from the Store.
In the bleeding-edge builds of Chrome and Chromium, there are three folders tucked away in Chrome's application data folder. On Windows Vista or 7, those three folders were found inside the "resources" folder, at %USERPROFILE%AppDataLocalGoogleChromeApplication[Version] resources. Macs can find their profile somewhere like /Applications/Google Chrome.app/Contents/Versions/6.0.458.1/Google Chrome Framework.framework/Resources/, and Linux users should try the /opt/google/chrome/resources path.
To make use of these early web apps, you'll need to do three things:
- Add a "startup switch" of
—enable-appsto a Chrome shortcut. (Need help with adding switches? It's covered in our power user's guide).
- Close down any Chrome windows, then launch from your modified shortcut. Head to the Extensions menu, click the shortcut to expand "Developer mode", and click the "Load unpacked extension" button.
- You'll get a prompt to locate the extension, but you might not be able to navigate to the extension folders — the AppData folder is often hidden by default. To get around this, open a file explorer window, enter %AppData% into the address bar, and navigate back up one level, then to the resources folder mentioned above. Copy this location from your file explorer address bar, then paste it in where Chrome is asking you for it.
After running through the process for each app you want, you'll have three Google web apps offered as links on your new tab page. Click any of them, and they'll be installed as semi-permanent, pinned tabs, with the added feature of not showing an address/OmniBar when they're selected. These apps might break when the next big Chrome update comes through, and they'll hopefully improve, too. Gmail, for instance, doesn't offer any kind of new message notification. Then again, if you keep these apps open all the time anyways, you've got nothing to lose.
Hit the link for more instructions on installing the apps, including XP profile locations and some insight into Google's direction with these apps.
Install Google Web Apps in Google Chrome [Google Operating System]