chrome web store
Right Click to Set Chrome Web Apps to Open Fullscreen, Pinned, or Tweak App Options [Chrome Web Store]
We've shown you what some of the new Chrome web apps can do, but even if some of the apps are just links to existing web pages, installing from the web store allows for a few extra customizations. More »
Now that the Chrome Web Store has launched, we should have a better understanding of what these Apps are all about, right? Well, not so much. These aren't your typical apps, after all -- so it's still a little confusing. Let's take a look at what you're actually installing.
TweetDeck, the AIR-based desktop and smartphone twitter power app has finally joined its biggest competitor, Seesmic, on the Web. The new TweetDeck app for Google's fledgling Chrome Web Store brings the best of what people loved about the desktop AIR-app to the Web, in what Iain Dodsworth, CEO of TweetDeck calls: "definitely our best version of a desktop TweetDeck so far." The Chrome app supports TweetDeck accounts for syncing of read tweets, filters and search columns, and has support for almost everything social. Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare, and even Google Buzz, are present and accounted for, with Gmail support on the way.
TweetDeck for Chrome is aiming to be faster and lighter than its AIR-based cousin, which is good news for anyone who's wanted to use TweetDeck on the desktop but has been put off by the relatively large footprint the AIR app takes. It's also currently silent, but TweetDeck is looking to implement a new 'social soundscape' across all its TweetDeck products in an effort to unify the notification system -- great for knowing what's happened without having to look at your screen.
The TweetDeck Chrome app can be found in the Chrome Web Store and installed directly into your up-to-date Chrome browser.
Just barely after noon (Pacific time), the Google Chrome Web Store has launched! There are quite a few apps available, both free and paid, ready for you to install in your Chrome browser. The slick New York Times app that Google demoed earlier today is now available, as well as many other popular apps. In addition to apps, the web store features Chrome extensions and themes. Go check it out now! More »
The rumors are true: Google's big Chrome event today was all about Chrome OS. As expected, Chrome OS is a "nothing but the web" operating system that runs entirely on web apps, with the Chrome browser at the center of the experience. Google walked through the whole Chrome OS user experience at the event, and it really looks like a solid choice for everyday users who just want to browse, share, work and play games on the web.
Setup for Chrome OS takes less than 60 seconds. In four steps, you can create a user account that already has access to your Google Apps data, and even carries over the themes, bookmarks and other settings from your existing Chrome browser. If you close the lid of your Chrome netbook and then open it again, your system and your internet connection resume faster than you can even type a Google Search.
In terms of sharing, each user's data on a Chrome OS machine is kept totally separate, so you can let your family make their own accounts (or let a friend use guest mode, which starts an Incognito session) and nobody will see anybody else's browsing history. Meanwhile, anything you do in Chrome on any of your computers will be synced to your account on the others. That means you can install an app or delete a theme on your Mac or PC, and it'll sync to your Chrome OS netbook in a few seconds.
It’s now just about time for the Chrome event Google is holding in San Francisco, presumably to show off both the new Chrome Web Store and the beta version of Chrome OS. We’ll be there to cover it live, but here are a few last-minute tidbits.
First, as Google Operating System noticed, Google uploaded two new videos to the YouTube Google Chrome channel earlier today. While neither video is live, the thumbnails are and confirm that one is about Chrome OS (a tour) and one is about the Chrome Web Store.
Second, some users are apparently reporting seeing an alert in their version of Chrome that asks them if they want to “test drive” a new Chrome notebook. We haven’t been able to confirm this, but have heard something about how the launch of the hardware that runs the OS will be in some sort of “test drive” mode.
Earlier today, we were tipped about this thread in the Chromium Google Groups area. Gregor Hochmuth, the Product Manager for the Chrome Web Store, responded to a question wondering if Google would be giving developers advanced notice before the store goes live. Hochmuth said that yes, there would be reminders sent out before the launch to let developers get edits and updates in before it rolls live. Well, the first such message was sent out today.
Specifically, Google is starting to notify current Chrome extension developers about the upcoming Chrome Web Store launch. The reason is that extensions (and themes) will be wrapped into the Web Store alongside apps. In the email, Google will only say that the store is launching “later this year”, but this email seems to be the first indications that it’s coming sooner rather than later.
Another good indicator? Google traditionally had done code lock-downs for the holidays. This essentially means no new launches once everyone breaks in the next few weeks. And all indications are that this will happen again. Google appears to be gearing up for the launch of quite a few things before this break. And one of them will almost for sure bethe Chrome Web Store.
Below, find the email that Google has sent out to developers to notify them about an impending change. (Note the sloppy numbering of the steps too.)
Thank you for developing for Google Chrome. These last few months, our team has been hard at work, preparing for the Chrome Web Store launch later this year. Extensions and themes for Google Chrome will be part of this new store. With this email we wanted to inform you of some upcoming developments and changes in the extensions gallery and how you can best prepare the items you have listed in the gallery for the upcoming launch.
- We have updated our guidelines for extension and theme creative assets: We recommend you to produce all the creative materials described in our docs. These are currently available only to apps developers but the same guidelines will apply to all items listed in the store once we launch. So, if you get these prepared now, you are going to be ready when the store launches. For those of you with complex extensions, we also highly recommend investing some time in preparing videos and slideshows, describing how your extensions work.
- Double-check our branding policies: If you are using Google trademarks and brand names to describe your items, please take a moment to re-read our branding policies to help you avoid common mistakes.
- Verify your listed items using Google’s Webmaster Tools: This new feature allows you to associate your website with the items you have posted in the store. This will make users more comfortable trying them out. Access this feature at the developer dashboard.
- Set up your Google Checkout merchant account and associate it with your developer account: If you arelocated in the US and want to sell apps and eventually extensions or themes through the store, you’ll need to register for a Google Checkout merchant account. You can find more information on this new help article.
- Make your extensions more discoverable: We will be launching a robust system of extensions categories in the gallery. You now have the option to classify your extension in up to three of these categories through the developer dashboard. This will help your extension be discovered by users who will be browsing the pages for each category.
Thank you again for making Google Chrome a better browser.
The Google Chrome Extensions team
Note the part where the Chrome Web Store will feature “a robust system of extensions categories”.
Back in August, at a conference in Europe, Google showed a little preview of the Chrome Web Store and noted that a launch would probably take place in October. While there were some hints of it coming along in October (including some pricing details that were apparently turned on by accident), it never came. And since today is the last day of November, I think it’s safe to say it’s not coming this month either. But it now definitely appears that Google is ramping up for an early December launch of the store, perhaps alongside a Chrome 8 release or a Chrome 9 beta release.
Earlier today, there was a flurry of activity in the Chromium Issues list. Specifically, there was a lot of activity surrounding the “ReleaseBlock” labeled items. And if you look them over, you’ll notice that most of these 16 issues are related to the Web Store or Chrome Apps in some way. Google appears to be tying up loose ends to get this product out the door as soon as possible.
So what’s being worked on? Well, first of all, as you can see above, Google has created a new logo for the Web Store. This logo has already made it into the latest builds of Chromium, and should trickle in the dev channel of Chrome shortly. Further, a Chrome Apps promo to be shown in the browser is now just about complete — they’re just fixingsome bugs with it.
Meanwhile, Google is trying to finish updating the documents detailing what’s new with extensions. Extensions are going to be a part of the Web Store (alongside themes and apps), so the fact that they’re getting the documentation ready is another good sign that a launch is very close.
Another pretty big feature being worked on is the ability to create desktop shortcuts for apps. You would be able to right click on an app in Chrome and create a desktop shortcut for it. The coding work on this appears to be done and it’s now being implemented.
A bigger change that is only going to apparently be enabled behind a flag in Chrome 9 is the ability to create appswithout using the crx format. This is now slated as a M10 feature. One problem with crx (which current Chrome extensions use) is that they’re limited to 10 MB in size.
Given that these things are labeled as “M9″ blockers, it’s not clear if Google will launch the Chrome Web Store as a feature of Chrome 9 in beta, or Chrome 8 in stable release. Chrome 7 is currently the latest stable release of the browser, while Chrome 8 is in beta, and Chrome 9 is in the dev channel. Again, you can probably expect the company to shift those all up shortly. This may even happen as soon as early next week, which would be in line with whatMediaMemo reported a month ago.
The Chrome Web Store is also expected to be a key part of Chrome OS, so it makes sense that Google would want to get it out there first in Chrome, then roll out the first versions of Chrome OS, still slated to hit before the end of the year.
Chromium's wrench menu now displays how many background Web apps are currently running in your browser (or browser-OS, if you're using Chrome OS). Clicking view background apps will bring the Chrome task manager into view, where the CPU, memory, and network utilized by your Background Apps and Extensions is displayed.
Chrome Web apps, of course, will be very similar to the extensions you can currently install from the Gallery. Similar enough, in fact, that many popular extensions will require only a minor tweak to their manifest files to "evolve" into apps. They'll have access to additional APIs and have different permission options, however, which will allow Chrome Web apps to go beyond current extension functionality.
This is part of a series of blog posts that provide tips and tricks on how to create better web apps as well as insights behind the technology of the Chrome Web Store - Ed.
Web development sure got fun recently, right? Local storage, notifications, new form controls, geolocation, inline multimedia... the list goes on and on. These new capabilities can help web developers build powerful new features in their apps.
However, many of these new additions to the web platform are not allowed to web pages by default. For example, to protect a user’s privacy, browsers do not allow web pages to use the geolocation API to access a user’s location unless they prompt the user. Browsers show these prompts each time a web page tries to use a potentially invasive or unsafe capability:
But these prompts can be quite annoying, especially when one web page asks for several of them. And some of these privileges are relatively obscure or incomprehensible to the user. As a result they end up being ignored or scare users from allowing a particular functionality. Most people don’t know what a “clipboard” is, so asking them about access to it is not that informative or helpful.
Now in the Chrome Web Store, developers can create “apps” that group together multiple privilege requests for a single site. Apps have a lightweight installation step that displays the privileges the app requests all together. Once an app is installed, it can use the privileges it requested during the installation process without any further nagging.
Some privileges are relatively low-risk, so we infer permission to use them from the act of installing the application. An example of this is the notifications API. The only reason it isn’t allowed to normal web sites by default is that it could be used annoyingly. When a user installs an app, we interpret that as a sign of at least some trust, and allow that application to use the Notifications API without additional prompting. If users do not like the notifications that the application generates, they can either disable them in the app’s notification UI or they can simply uninstall the app.
In this first version of apps for the Chrome Web Store, we support permission request declarations for the geolocation, notifications, and unlimited storage privileges. Over time we’ll be adding even more.
To learn more about how to build apps for the Chrome Web Store, visit the developer documentation at code.google.com/chrome/webstore.
Today we are kicking off a series of blog posts that provide tips and tricks on how to create better web apps as well as insights behind the technology of the Chrome Web Store - Ed.
Looking at building a web app for the Chrome Web Store? The browser landscape has changed a lot recently and user expectations about the quality and polish level of apps are extremely high thanks in part to the success of highly polished mobile apps. Can you meet these high expectations with a webapp?
Fortunately, you now have a lot more power and flexibility with the user interface thanks to the power of HTML5, CSS3, and other new web technologies. It’s now possible to make a web app that is every bit as slick and polished as the best desktop or phone app, while still maintaining the flexibility and portability of the web. For example, using CSS3 transitions and animations, you can make actions in your app feel much more interactive. You can use CSS3’s support for gradients, reflections and rounded corners to create scalable interfaces that look as if they were built using hand-crafted images. And with the rise of GPU-accelerated graphics, you’re now able to create compelling 3D experiences.
However, creating great user experiences is about more than sizzle and polish. Another important factor is focus. Ideally, an app should accomplish a single task well with a minimal amount of distractions. Be judicious with your use of links and ads that could take users away from the task at hand. When the user launches your app, they’re trying to accomplish something specific that your app enables; help them get started right away by minimizing the steps that they need to take, especially when they’re first trying your app. If the first thing a user sees is a registration screen, many will bounce off (once you need the users to sign in, you can use OpenID and Google Accounts to simplify the process). By installing your app they’ve indicated something stronger than just clicking a link - they want to use your app to accomplish something specific. Keep the distractions to a minimum and keep your app focused on the job at hand and your users will be happier.
UI responsiveness in your app is also crucial. For example, let’s say you’ve built a photo stitching app that glues together photos into one seamless larger photo. This may require a lot of CPU horsepower or even that you do the heavy lifting on the server. Maybe the whole operation takes two minutes to complete. However, you can still keep your interactive performance high while the operation proceeds asynchronously. You could ship the CPU work off of the main user interface thread using an HTML5 Worker or you could offload it to a server with an XHR. That alone isn’t enough though. You need to give the user feedback while this is happening, ideally something cool and visual and not just a progress bar. Meanwhile, the user should be able to do other things. If that’s not possible, then cancelling needs to be easy and responsive. Interactive performance is usually something that needs to be designed into your app up front rather than added later as an afterthought, so plan ahead.
In short, you need to think both like app developer as well as a web developer. Putting a little extra thought into focus, performance, feedback and polish can make the difference between “meh” and “whee!”.
Based on his discussions with developers who are building Web apps for Chrome, prevailing sentiment is that the Chrome Web Store will now open some time in early December. While some devs remain optimistic that a mid-November launch could still happen, Google has already missed launch targets -- casting severe doubts.
Interestingly, Kafka also mentions that some developers report receiving monetary "encouragement" directly from Google -- one individual acknowledged receive a $15,000 check. The Chrome Web Store remains enough of an enigma that these delays won't adversely affect it -- but we'd sure like to get a look at it.
Here's hoping the beta launch happens before the year is out.
Among the more recent additions is support for background apps, which have actually been part of the Chromium source code for a while now. Unlike the Chrome Apps you may have tried already (like those for Gmail, Docs, and Calendar), background apps can function continuously even though you don't have them open in a tab.
Recently, background app support was added to about:flags. In the current Chromium snapshots (and in the Chrome Dev Channel and Canary), enabling the feature now adds an additional option to your Under the Hood settings -- check the box to enable background apps and run them at startup. Google's choice of "system start" is a nod to Chrome OS, where background apps will likely be the equivalent of system tray apps on your current operating system.
... And don't get your hopes up about that learn more link. Currently, it points to a non-existent page, which isn't surprising considering the Web Store isn't open yet.
While they’re still only officially saying that the it will launch “later this year”, it appears that Google is taking the steps to get ready for a Chrome Web Store launch very soon. Specifically, a post today highlights that developers can now hook their apps up to Google Checkout merchant accounts (to be able to sell their apps — U.S.-only for the time being), and that there is now a way to preview how your app will look in the store when it goes live.
Earlier today, it was revealed that development of the Chrome Web Store is well underway, and Google hopes to deploy it around October. That’s good news, and the fact that Google apparently only plans to take a 5 percent of revenues from developers is great news. But look closer at the screenshots leaked from GDC Europe. See that area in the store called “Apps your friends like”? Yes, it appears that this new store will play nicely with Google’s new social strategy.
The key word in the area is “friends.” If you look at Google’s current social products (Buzz, Reader, Wave, etc) none of them use the term “friend” to indicate a connection with another user. Instead, social connections are all “followers” or “contacts” or “connections.” Hell, even Friend Connect (which, let’s face it, no one talks about anymore) doesn’t really use the term “friend” too often outside of its name.
The only Google property that seems to use “friend” regularly is Orkut, Google’s social network which is only really widely-used in Brazil. Something tells me the Chrome Web Store isn’t going to be built around Orkut’s social graph. Call it a hunch.
Instead, we can probably expect the Chrome Web Store, like many other Google properties, to take advantage of the new social project Google is currently working on. While the company still won’t officially talk about it, they have acknowledged such a project exists, and we believe executive Vic Gundotra has been tapped to oversee it.
If you look even closer at the pictures, you can see that Google will serve up recommendations in the Chrome Web Store based on games your friends “like.” Whether this is through some sort of Facebook-esque Like button, or simply through some kind of rating system isn’t clear. But clearly Google plans for the Chrome Web Store itself to be a social experience. Some games have notes stating they were “liked by SOMEONE and X others.”
Interestingly, if I’m not mistaken, it also appears that Google is using first names to distinguish who liked something. This seems to suggest the social graph intended to work here won’t be that big. But who knows, this could just be a mockup to demonstrate the intended funtionality.
During the GDC presentation, representatives from Google talked about the opportunity in social gaming as it relates to the Chrome Web Store. Obviously, they need the social aspect to make that work.
One of the big announcements at this year’s Google I/O was that a new Chrome Web Store was being built. Think of it as Apple’s App Store or the Android Market but for web apps. In it, you’ll be able to purchase (or download for free) and install apps that can run in Google’s Chrome web browser. Google would only commit to the store and apps being ready “later this year,” but work on app compatibility for Chrome progressing quite nicely.
Builds of Chromium (the open source browser behind Chrome) have actually been able to run early apps for weeks now. The ability is still hidden behind a flag, but if you go here you can figure out how to turn on the functionality. As you can see in the screenshots below, these builds allow you to install apps (you can find some here) that then reside on your main “Most visited” Chrome page (the one with web page thumbnails for sites you often visit). From here, you can click on any of these apps to launch them in a new pinned tab.
Obviously, this isn’t as simple as it’s going to be with the full Web Store in place. But it’s still not too bad either. Clicking on a link to an app brings up a prompt to ask if you’d like to install it — just like you get when you install a Chrome extension. An overlay at the top of the browser then lets you know when the app is installed.
Eventually, it looks as if installed apps will have different looking tabs than regular pinned web pages (for now they look the same). It also looks like the UI for these apps will be a lot nicer by the time things launch, and there will be an easier way to delete apps from the page they reside on (see bottom image).
One quick note: the latest builds of Chromium for Mac appear to have the way to get to apps disabled. So you might want to try an older version from early June. At least one thread warns that apps might be available on the Windows versions of Chrome first, and Mac and Linux later.