Chrome/Windows/Chrome OS: Google today rolled out a new category of Chrome Apps, also known as Chrome Packaged Apps, that run on the desktop and feel more like native apps than ones tied to the browser. Popular services among these new apps include Google Keep, Any.DO and Pocket.
What Are These New Chrome Apps?
It's confusing. There are the web apps that run in the Chrome browser, and then this new category of standalone desktop apps. Both kinds are installed from the Chrome Web Store.
The desktop apps require Chrome to be installed. Once they're installed, they can be launched from new shortcuts on your taskbar. Currently the 50 or so Chrome Apps available for the desktop work with Windows or Chrome OS, while Mac users will get access to them in six weeks.
We've seen Google launch examples of this new app platform before through its Chrome App Launcher, but now you can install more popular standalone apps. Also, you might have previously heard about these apps as "Chrome Packaged Apps", but now they're just Chrome Apps.
Running a Chrome App on your desktop means you can free up a tab and don't have to open up the browser if you want to access your reading list in Pocket, for example. The apps can run offline and continue to sync across all your devices when connected to the internet. Chrome Apps will also be coming to mobile devices in the future.
Examples of Chrome Apps
Some of the most popular Chrome Apps for desktop:
- Pocket: Offline access to your saved articles and keyboard shortcuts
- Any.DO: Desktop reminders for your tasks, keyboard shortcuts and voice recognition
- Google Keep: Notes created offline are synced back when your connection returns, synced with Android app and Google Drive
- Wunderlist: Again, offline access and desktop notifications
There aren't that many Chrome Apps for desktop available right now, but you can count on this collection growing, since it's an easy way for developers to roll out apps across many platforms. Check out the ones available via the link below.