"Web apps are special to users, but not to browsers"Google Docs is not the same as a tab displaying Tested. One functions as an application while the other is simply a website. It's that distinction that the company thinks must be made clearer. As a result, web apps will be given larger, separate tabs than web content, helping differentiate the two. It seems largely aesthetic at first, but the psychological impact of that change could work wonders.
On an iPhone or mobile device, you can view Esquire online, or you can view it through an app. The experience may be different, but the content is often the same. However, we're more likely to use the app over the website because of that difference in presentation — an app, we're taught, is supposed to offer a more full-featured experience than what can be found on the web. Another example is Google Voice, an app that is currently available only through the iPhone's browser. This is a web app packed with so much functionality that it could practically be a full-featured application — and yet, it's not viewed as such, with users continuing to lament the lack of true, iPhone-native app.
In short, Google is attempting to bring the iPhone experience to Chrome. For example, some gamers look down upon Farmville and Canabalt for being simple flash games, trapped inside a browser. But give them dedicated application status within Chrome, and that perception could quickly change. Canabalt is a perfect example of a moderately popular online flash game, that achieved enormous success when turned into an iPhone application. If the iPhone were to support flash, and Canabalt remained a browser-baed game, that success may have never come.
Monetizing the desktop webSports Illustrated, demonstrated the magazine's very own Chrome app. With a heavy focus on content, typography and social media elements, the application looked fantastic. And it will come at a price. Thus far, newspapers and magazines have had a difficult time charging readers for their content online, but have had some success with mobile apps. In theory, Chrome's Web Store gives developers the ability to monetize the web by packaging it in an application — just like on an iPhone. It may sound crazy, but it's strategy that could just convince users to pay for content online.
execute native code will be present as well. Lego Star Wars is an upcoming Chrome game that will run with a mix of native code and HTML5 APIs. Being run in a browser, it may still be perceived with the stigma of an an internet game, but in truth will be much closer to traditional release. The key, it seems, is not just differentiating web apps from traditional websites, but making them appear as full-featured applications as well.
With an install base of over 70 million users, Google is anticipating Chrome's Web Store will be a great success. Much like an extension browser or gallery of themes, the Web Store will make people's life easier, and collect both useful and popular applications in one place — some of which for a price. But whether a mobile app store model can succeed on the desktop web remains to be seen.
Google's Chrome Web Apps and Store won't launch until later this year. However, Windows users can download and install early Chrome apps as they're released with daily builds from the Chromium repository.
Images via Google, Engadget.