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Chrome App Launcher Released for Windows

By - Source: Google | B 11 comments

Chrome is becoming an OS within an OS thanks to Chrome's new app launcher.

The Chromium Blog reports that Google has released a Chrome app launcher for the Windows platform. It's a dedicated home for Chrome apps on the desktop, the same one that's currently offered on Chromebooks. To get it, Windows users will first need the Dev channel build of Chrome, and then a Chrome packaged app like Text Drive or the CIRC IRC client.

"You’ll get the app launcher as an icon on your Windows taskbar the first time you install a packaged app," said Chrome product manager Sriram Satroop. "Chrome packaged apps are not yet searchable on the Chrome Web Store - but you can build your own packaged app, upload it to the Chrome Web Store and access it via its direct link."

Many of the apps on Google's Chrome Web Store are merely glorified shortcuts to content offered on other websites. But there are loads of genuine web-based apps that can be launched within the Chrome browser using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. Packaged apps deliver a native-like experience by launching outside the browser environment without needing to install DLLs and whatnot on the local hard drive.

The great thing about packaged apps is that they work offline by default, and have access to "powerful" APIs now available to web-based Chrome apps. Unfortunately, these apps aren't listed on the Chrome Web Store, but once they become available, Chrome itself should feel more like an OS within an OS rather than a glorified browser.

As instructed, once the user updates Chrome to the latest developer build, a window pops up introducing the Chrome App Launcher after choosing to install a packaged app (shown left). After selecting "Get the Launcher", an additional confirmation box appears, asking the user to verify the installation of the app.

Once both are installed, the launcher appears next to the clock on the taskbar. Tap it, and a menu appears listing the available apps (shown above). Here users have access to all apps installed in Chrome whether they're web-based or packaged. The icons visually depict which ones are online-only, enveloping the app with a faint browser window outline. Blue bars along the bottom of the menu show how many app pages are available.

With the Chrome app launcher installed, the Chrome browser seemingly becomes just a browser. All app shortcuts are removed from the New Tab page, thus leaving only pinned webpage shortcuts. The Chrome App Store link now resides in both the launcher and at the bottom right-hand corner of the New Tab screen next to the Other Devices and Recently Closed options.

Note that in this article, the launcher was installed on the Windows 8 desktop. The launcher itself is merely a static tile in the Modern UI overlay (AKA Start Screen) that brings the user right back to the desktop.

 

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  • 7 Hide
    ShadyHamster , February 25, 2013 4:37 AM
    So we can get chrome os, chrome app and a chrome browser?
    Can you run the browser within the app within the os....? LOL
    Chromeception?
  • -4 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , February 25, 2013 4:47 AM
    With this, I bet Google is trying to attract Windows users to Chrome OS. Now would be the time to do it, with Windows 8 being a failure.
  • 7 Hide
    s3anister , February 25, 2013 5:19 AM
    ShadyHamsterSo we can get chrome os, chrome app and a chrome browser?Can you run the browser within the app within the os....? LOLChromeception?

    No, we need to go one level of Chrome deeper.
  • -3 Hide
    diddo , February 25, 2013 5:35 AM
    Another content delivery driven api on Windows to put another nail in the coffin of WinRT.
  • 4 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 25, 2013 6:56 AM
    So Windows can now run:-
    - Windows Programs
    - Windows Apps
    - Android Apps
    - Chrome Apps
    ...
    All we need now is some industrious person, same as the Bluestacks people, to find a way to run Apple Apps and there is no need to run any other device
  • 2 Hide
    ohim , February 25, 2013 7:58 AM
    JOSHSKORNWith this, I bet Google is trying to attract Windows users to Chrome OS. Now would be the time to do it, with Windows 8 being a failure.

    Actually win 8 is great and i love it, but at least this way windows users will get rid of the guys who cry about a start button.
  • 2 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 25, 2013 8:52 AM
    ShadyHamsterSo we can get chrome os, chrome app and a chrome browser?Can you run the browser within the app within the os....? LOLChromeception?

    Yo dawg, I ran a browser within the app within the os, so I could run a browser within the app within the os, then run a browser within the app within the os
  • 0 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , February 25, 2013 9:18 AM
    This will probably have some form of cloud based syncing for your apps. While I love the idea of the cloud I am finding that having Google Drive, Office 365 with MS Skydrive, Steam, etc installed on my computer my internet is starting to lag. I often have to shut down several syncing apps just to stream video. I think a few more apps like that and my internet will start choking completely. The cloud is definitely coming, but it seems every company wants their own cloud. News flash guys: There is only one cloud.

    I really, really think that the software houses should get together and work out an amicable solution. A standard that will suit them, but most importantly suit us their clients. I want control over my computer. If they don't get their act together I'll just go completely offline again.
  • 2 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 25, 2013 10:15 AM
    The_TrutherizerThere is only one cloud.I really, really think that the software houses should get together and work out an amicable solution

    Not likely, what will more likley happen will be another company will come along which will do for cloud storage what Pidgin does for Instant Message
    ...
    One App, that you enter all your login details for all your Cloud Storage, then lets you aggregate them all like a single storage volume - big money to whoever does it first
  • 1 Hide
    upgrade_1977 , February 25, 2013 8:35 PM
    So now your saying I can buy a windows device and get chrome inside of it?
    Awesome, now I don't have to buy a google device, I can just buy a windows device and get the best of both worlds. :D 
  • 0 Hide
    revo_ever_guys , February 26, 2013 11:00 AM
    So google chromebook is irrelevant after all...
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