Google launches offline apps for Chrome to take the web browser to the next level

Chromebooks which were launched in 2011, with the view of providing users a complete browser-based computing solution haven't been the success Google hoped for, mainly due to the over-reliance on cloud based solutions. Google wants to fix that problem by launching "Chrome Apps," which essentially are browser-based apps but support offline usage.

The apps were announced in post on the official Google Chrome blog, noting that while apps from the Chrome Web Store have had the ability to run offline previously, but these new apps are expected to offer a lot more functionality. The apps now run separately, with their own UI in a new window as well as connectivity features enabled, such as USB and Bluetooth. Google hopes to provide a tablet-like experience and can be launched directly from the desktop and expects the apps to boost functionality of the Chrome OS and provide cross-platform app and data sync for users on Windows, Mac or Linux.

Google Apps product lead Erik Kay said in an interview with PCWorld that the company "always knew we needed to bring richer apps to Chrome OS. We might have been a little more optimistic that we could have brought more of these things to the Web early on."

Some of the apps that have been featured by Google on the blog are Pixlr Touch Up, Wunderlist and Cracking Sands. Chrome Apps are currently available in the Chrome Web Store for Windows and Chrome OS users. Mac and Linux users can expect them in the next six weeks.

Source: Google Chrome Blog | Images via Google Chrome Blog

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51 Comments

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I think people are also missing the point that this is a run at Windows (App) Store.

Now on Windows 8 you can get "Apps" in two different ways, with Windows Store and with Chrome(book) Apps.

Google doesnt need to be successful here, they just have to muddy the market for app usage and they've made an impact.

It's the same thing that Amazon and Samsung have done on Android to the Google Play store. I highly doubt anyone at Google thought other companies would launch their own app marketplace. I suspect they thought they were going to be the sole app provider and got caught with their pants down. Now they are taking this approach right to the Windows desktop.

The interesting thing about this app store is that Google is introducing a crossplatform framework that will automatically populate their own ChromeOS with the same apps developed for every other platform.

They are basically working around the problem of attracting developers to ChromeOS.

I wish Microsoft could adopt webkit even as a secondary browser. so I as a developer and windows user didn't have to have chrome to test on webkit.

xankazo said,
So Google can use Windows desktops to serve their apps and deny apps to Windows Phone?

Google is new evil empire. Microsoft gave their place to google.

S3P€hR said,

Google is new evil empire. Microsoft gave their place to google.

Don't forget Apple and bringing back the proprietary hardware platforms we thought we left behind in the 80s.

S3P€hR said,

Google is new evil empire. Microsoft gave their place to google.

Nothing new about Google being the "new" evil empire. They have been since day 1, IMO.

This approach/concept does nothing for me.

Spicoli said,

Don't forget Apple and bringing back the proprietary hardware platforms we thought we left behind in the 80s.


apple doesn't change

xankazo said,
So Google can use Windows desktops to serve their apps and deny apps to Windows Phone?

Basically yes, they can offer their apps on Windows and not on Windows Phone.

Microsoft of course could choose to block third party apps on Windows, I'm sure that would make a lot of business sense.

This doesn't have anything to do with Chromebooks. This is the opposite direction of Chromebooks. Chromebooks can only run Chrome Apps in web pages. This brings web apps to the desktop. And these desktop variants can do much more than the web page versions can, but cross-platform. It actually sounds pretty exciting to me.

Northgrove said,
It actually sounds pretty exciting to me.

I am pretty sure it sounds equally exciting for people who write viruses and malwares.

Northgrove said,
It actually sounds pretty exciting to me.

Not sure what's so exciting. It's basically the same idea as Java. The only thing different is that the code runs slower than Java and they have an app store.

JonathanMarston said,

Not sure what's so exciting. It's basically the same idea as Java. The only thing different is that the code runs slower than Java and they have an app store.

Is there any benchmark around comparing the speed of stuff like NACL with Java and such?

Hahaiah said,
I hear the same exact argument towards RT and agree on both.

not a fan of RT but RT is better than chrome book at least you get full offline office suit. and its a decent operating system not just a browser with bunch of plugins.

Auditor said,
Whole world does not revolve around office. Same argument by fanboys every time some one raises issues.

Ok, Windows RT is the 'full' and same OS as x86 Windows 8 and x64 Windows 8.
The only difference is the loader restricts non-WinRT Apps unless they are Microsoft's.

(Microsoft could release a desktop compiler for ARM and Adobe could recompile the 32bit version of Photoshop to Windows RT rather easily. It would be slow as hell, but in theory is easily possible. Instead Microsoft would rather have upper level software be architecture agnostic, which is why they are pushing WinRT.)

There is the same kernel code, the same WinSxS subsystem, etc etc. The only difference is Windows RT has an ARM based HAL (As NT is designed) and is compiled for the ARM processor.

To even compare ChromeOS to Windows RT, by technical definition you have to take the additional step and compare ChromeOS to all versions of Windows 8.

When you do that, ChromeOS looks like what it is, a poor OS model wrapped inside a browser.

Auditor said,
Whole world does not revolve around office. Same argument by fanboys every time some one raises issues.

Its not only office. only RT have full USB connection and printer support exactly like windows. plus true multitasking (real windows like) is only available with windows.

Yes, but powered by additional capabilities of Chrome to allow a near-native experience (like NaCl (Native Client), WebGL, PPAPI, ...), all packed together in a Chrome app package.

Spicoli said,
Are these the same horrible HTML5 apps we use now online?

HTML5 Apps are a better solution.

It is the model Apple and Microsoft have been pushing, so of course Google would have to do something that exists outside of standards.

/Google - Pretending to be 'open' while being more proprietary than Microsoft and Apple.

Google still wants you to do HTML5 apps, but these offer a solution where HTML5 doesn't, and that's when you want to run high-performance code, for example for image editing. Chrome NaCl allows you to execute native code in a secure, platform-agnostic way.

Ambroos said,
Yes, but powered by additional capabilities of Chrome to allow a near-native experience (like NaCl (Native Client).

Why would they shorten it down to sodium chloride? Thanks for explaining google's contraction, because I skim read it as "...near-native experience (like salt..."

In fact, I'd go so far as to say, they should stop doing that. It's cased the compound way, so it's rather confusing when it's used in this context:

Ambroos also said,
Chrome NaCl

Chrome salt. Gotcha

Omen1393 said,
Why is this better than Active X in terms of compatibility and security?
because its google, not MS. And by internet rules anybody not MS is by default waaaaaaaay better at doing hard stuff.

MikeInBA said,
because its google, not MS. And by internet rules anybody not MS is by default waaaaaaaay better at doing hard stuff.

You are about to receive so much abuse XD

Omen1393 said,
Why is this better than Active X in terms of compatibility and security?

Well for compatibility it'll be eventually cross platform, so (supposedly) you get the same experience across the board. ActiveX is pretty much gone as far as the web goes too. On the downside ActiveX can interact with regular programs, I'm guessing this is just an overglorified wrapper. I'm more wondering about resource usage. Chrome is a lot of things, but lightweight isn't one of them. Is it going to be memory hungry vs regular programs, startup times, etc.

I get that ActiveX is dead, what I'm wondering though is this a Chrome only thing or is it possible to port these same technologies to different browsers? Is it closed source?

Max Norris said,

Well for compatibility it'll be eventually cross platform, so (supposedly) you get the same experience across the board. ActiveX is pretty much gone as far as the web goes too. On the downside ActiveX can interact with regular programs, I'm guessing this is just an overglorified wrapper. I'm more wondering about resource usage. Chrome is a lot of things, but lightweight isn't one of them. Is it going to be memory hungry vs regular programs, startup times, etc.

Java poorly reinvented in 2013.

Google's innovation is just AMAZING...

/really?

Omen1393 said,
Why is this better than Active X in terms of compatibility and security?

Its not, Chrome ranked number one in malware and security attacks last year. and that was before offline apps that could be much worse.

Omen1393 said,
Why is this better than Active X in terms of compatibility and security?

In terms of compatibility, ActiveX is obviously only supported on Windows while NACL and NPAPI are crossplatform.

Regarding security NACL is sandboxed while ActiveX (AFAIK) is not.

techbeck said,

Where do you see this? I find no high level reports on the Chrome Operating System having a crap load of Malware. And as for the Chrome Browser, it ranks 2nd in blocking Malware right behind IE.
https://www.nsslabs.com/report...socially-engineered-malware

I was talking about chrome browser not chrome os. of course chrome os has no malware because nobody uses it.

as far as IE vs Chrome malware goes:
http://news.techworld.com/secu...rome-or-firefox-test-finds/

http://www.developerfusion.com...ble-application-called-out/

S3P€hR said,

I was talking about chrome browser not chrome os. of course chrome os has no malware because nobody uses it.

as far as IE vs Chrome malware goes:
http://news.techworld.com/secu...rome-or-firefox-test-finds/

http://www.developerfusion.com...ble-application-called-out/

Did you read your links? From the second one (emphasis mine):

Bit9 have responded on their own blog, but they do concede “Much of the data provided to the NIST NVD is reported by the vendors themselves, and we applaud this honesty” - which makes you wonder what the table would look like were Microsoft's bug tracker to be publically available.

The first link basically says exactly the same techbeck said in the post you quoted.

S3P€hR said,

I was talking about chrome browser not chrome os. of course chrome os has no malware because nobody uses it.

Well, this is NOT about the browser, it is about the OS. Please look up and research the real reason behind why Chome OS doesnt have malware.

That is the same study I posted. IE has the highest block rate followed by Chome. The study was done a few months ago. Opera has the lest block rate so as well as being off topic, you are wrong as well.

Why are you posting articles/reports from 2010? It is irrelevant now and a lot has changed as the link I posted shows.

techbeck said,

Well, this is NOT about the browser, it is about the OS. .


I think this article is about the browser not chrome OS. may be you should read the article

techbeck said,

Please look up and research the real reason behind why Chome OS doesnt have malware.
.

rule is simple, any OS that has more users and does more things has more malwares. done. yes apple also was always proud of Mac OS because it didn't have malwares, because they had less users and you could do less things. simple. hackers don't want to spend time for a platform that nobody use. perhaps that's why chrome browser has malware because there are many people use it.

S3P€hR said,

I think this article is about the browser not chrome OS. may be you should read the article

And I quote...

Chromebooks which were launched in 2011, with the view of providing users a complete browser-based computing solution haven't been the success Google hoped for, mainly due to the over-reliance on cloud based solutions. Google wants to fix that problem by launching "Chrome Apps," which essentially are browser-based apps but support offline usage.

And look at the pic in the OP. Its a pic of the Chromebook OS.

S3P€hR said,

rule is simple, any OS that has more users and does more things has more malwares. done. yes apple also was always proud of Mac OS because it didn't have malwares, because they had less users and you could do less things. simple. hackers don't want to spend time for a platform that nobody use. perhaps that's why chrome browser has malware because there are many people use it.

Again, do some research. There are measures put in place to prevent malware on the Chome OS. There is a lot more to it then just Chromebooks not being popular.

And the Chrome browser is not to far behind IE and is the 2nd best browser that blocks malware. Your article and claim saying the the Chrome Browser is the worst is from THREE years ago. The one I post was from a few months ago. The year is 2013, not 2010.

So again, you are wrong. Chrome is not the most infected browser.

techbeck said,

Again, do some research. There are measures put in place to prevent malware on the Chome OS. There is a lot more to it then just Chromebooks not being popular.

And the Chrome browser is not to far behind IE and is the 2nd best browser that blocks malware. Your article and claim saying the the Chrome Browser is the worst is from THREE years ago. The one I post was from a few months ago. The year is 2013, not 2010.

So again, you are wrong. Chrome is not the most infected browser.


I never said its the worst one in blocking attacks. I said it ranked number one in windows application for security attacks. for some reason can't find the article which I probably read here in neowin. but here is the idea. Chrome is number one browser is used in windows even if it ranked second behind IE in blocking malwares (because its number one browser being used) still would be number one security attack media. got it?

S3P€hR said,

I never said its the worst one in blocking attacks. I said it ranked number one in windows application for security attacks.

Ah, well...my mistake then. And why do attacks even matter if nothing happens and they are blocked. They are blocked...non issue.

But again, this is not about the browser, this is about the OS. And there are measures to protect the OS from getting malware...regardless if it is not a popular platform. There is more to it.