If opening Google Chrome's new tab page just to fire up an app feels a bit too clunky for your liking, check out a new extension from Google itself: App Launcher.
Once installed, you'll have access to a drop down menu which lists all your apps in alphabetical order -- unlike previously reviewed AppJump Launcher, which doesn't appear to list them in any particular order. Google's offering also features built-in search -- which could be handy if you've been able to find a whole pile of apps you decided to keep installed. Keyboard navigation is supported as well, allowing you to arrow up and down and tap enter to launch.
The extension currently lacks an options screen -- which would be a great place for Google to slap in another missing feature: hotkey support.
Install App Launcher for Google Chrome
There's nothing in the Web Store description for MOG that it's U.S. only, and there's no note in the sidebar where Google displays the version number, language, and payment details. If I see the MOG app and the install button on my screen, I'm going to assume that I can install -- and use it -- in Google Chrome. I gave it a go just to see what would happen, and I wasn't really surprised when MOG didn't work.
Still, for the less-savvy Chrome user who winds up in the Web Store after seeing the shiny icon on his or her new tab page, it's going to be quite frustrating. There will likely be a lot more comments posted like the ones you see on MOG: "A warning would be nice." "You should tell us it's only available in a few areas."
So how about it, Google? Let's start making sure that Chrome Web App developers list any geo-restrictions.
Part of Google's "nothing but the web" Chrome OS is the Chrome Web Store, a place to buy web apps that run in-browser. Everything from games to productivity apps to social media clients is on offer in the Web Store. The other side of the equation is that developers now have a way to get paid for web apps, which should help to encourage more and better web apps in the future.
It's not like the current crop is shabby, either, though. The Web Store is launching with familiar apps like Twitter client Tweetdeck and Popcap's popular tower-defense style game, Plants vs. Zombies. There's also Flixster, eBay, the New York Times ... well, you get the idea. Brand-name apps by the hundreds are already available at launch. It's not just apps, either: the Web Store is a one-stop shop for themes and extensions, too.
For a little help navigating this brave new world of web apps, check out our screenshot tour.
The official Google Chrome YouTube channel has been busy in the wee hours, uploading two new demo videos -- one for Chrome OS and one for the Web Store. The videos aren't publicly available just yet, so you'll have to let the trio of static images whet your appetite for now (take the jump for the other two captures).
Now that Chrome version 8 has hit the standard Stable channels, it's possible for anyone to peek at the early web app style that will come with Chrome's Web Store—once again. Just as before, right-click on a shortcut to Chrome, hit Properties, then edit its shortcut target to add
--enable-default-apps on Windows. Mac and Linux users, Google Operating System has the command line switch you'll need. What Chrome webapps are you most looking forward to seeing made official? [Google Operating System] More »
So, how about it, Google? Will we be able to take our browser out for a little Christmas shopping, or is the Web Store on hold until Chrome OS launches "in the coming months?"
The Google OS blog was lucky enough to nab a screenshot of the Most Popular page complete with "Free" tags, though when I checked the site only the spotlight extension at the top showed prices.
There have been other indications recently that Google is gathering steam for the Web Store launch. Not long ago, I received an odd 500 error indicating that the Web Store was not available. Google has also been busy educating extension and Web app developers about accepting payments.
While no launch date has been revealed yet, stay tuned -- the Web Store Launch surely can't be far off now.
Google Checkout payments are now supported, and developers can sign up for a merchant account on their dashboard page. Page previews have now been added -- so you can see how your app will look in the Store prior to publishing. Pages can be customized with header images and Google is also allowing devs to upload their own promotional banners (they'll be displayed when your app is feature in the store).
One downside for developers hoping to sell their apps in the Web Store is that Google Checkout might be the only payment option. Checkout still isn't available in that many countries, so international devs looking to deliver localized Web apps will have to wait for Google to make good on their expansion promises.
ed note: it's become an expected part of app stores, but as you can see in the screenshot the Chrome Web Store will offer recommendations based on what other users install.
For the last few days, I've been hearing reports from a number of people about 500 errors when trying to reach the Chrome Extensions Gallery. The Gallery, you might recall, is due to be re-launched as the Web Store -- at least according to chatter on the Chromium dev mailing list.
Tonight, I was trying to take a browse around the Gallery when I ran into the error message above. While that could have been caused by any number of errors, it could also point to work going on behind the scenes. A page not found error in the Gallery should be titled:
We're not just talking Plants vs. Zombies or Bejewelled here either (no offense intended). In the top right corner of 1Up's screenshot you can clearly see FIFA 10 -- and you've got to think that if EA is on board with one title, they'll be bringing more to the table as well.
1Up's post also shows Google demonstrating other in-browser games like the Quake demo their own devs released, Freeciv.net, Google Pac Man, and a Flash version of Lego Star Wars. The page for Plants vs. Zombies is also shown with a price of $3.99 -- not to bad for one of the most addictive little games I've played in a long time. There's also a 'try it free' button so you can count on being able to test drive at least some of the games and apps in the store prior to plunking down your cash.
I don't know about you, but the more details that surface the more excited I'm getting about the Chrome Web Store opening its doors. Now, when am I going to get my hands on a shiny piece of Chrome OS hardware....?
For quite some time now, intrepid users have been able to flip a command line switch and enable app support in Google Chrome's dev and canary builds (as well as Chromium). Late last night, however, the switch became unnecessary in Chromium -- apps support has now been turned on by default.
Why is that a big deal? For starters, it means that full-time app support is coming very soon to Chrome -- first in canary and the dev channel. The platform is ready for some serious tire-kicking, and Chrome's cutting-edge users will (as always) be the first wave of testers.
With Google's recently-accelerated release schedule, it likely won't be long before apps make it into the stable channel. Chrome OS is due on tablet devices later this year, and apps will need to be ready to rock prior to their arrival.
This also means that we'll soon witness the evolution of the Chrome Extensions Gallery. It's due to be re-branded as the Web Store and will house not only extensions and themes, but also full-fledged web apps like the ones Google demoed way back when like Plants vs. Zombies, Lego Star Wars, and no doubt some more practical ones as well (if you're into that sort of thing... ).
While you wait for the actual Chrome Web Apps to arrive, why not at least install some of the app tab eye-candy in our previous post? We've got about two dozen .CRX downloads for you, covering everything from GMail and Facebook to Grooveshark and Pandora!
As always, if you're looking for the most recent Chromium snapshot builds for your OS, you'll find them here!