Google plans store for Chrome Web applications
Google Inc. announced plans to create a store for applications for its Chrome Web browser and operating system, the Internet giant's latest attempt to lure developers away from software platforms controlled by Apple Inc. and others. Apps in this store would have an important difference—they will remain online, rather than being downloaded to run on a cellphone or computer.Google executives and guests at an annual event for developers demonstrated examples that include a version of Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated magazine that runs in a Web browser along with a Star Wars game. These online applications had richer graphics and ads and more navigation options than traditional Web pages offer.
Sundar Pichai, Google vice president of product management, said developers will be able to build the applications using standard Web technologies and can offer them free or for a fee. There are more than 70 million active users of the Chrome browser, up from 30 million in June 2009, he said.
Google hosts an online a store for downloaded applications that work with its Android software for cellphones. The Chrome store reflects a separate campaign to encourage software developers to build Web apps rather than downloaded software.
Access thousands of business sources not available on the free web. Learn More “The Web is the most important platform of our generation,” said Vic Gundotra, Google's vice president of engineering, who also spoke in Wednesday's keynote to an audience of 5,000 developers. “Because it's a platform controlled by none of us, it's the only platform truly controlled by all of us.”
It comes as Google and an array of hardware partners are preparing to introduce the first devices running Google's ChromeOS operating system—which will only support software that runs online—later this year.
Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research, said Google's new apps store could help the Web giant and its ChromeOS partners compete with the Apple's iPad and other tablets. “Apple had an enormous advantage with its developer network when they launched a new device,” she said.
Web developers at the Google conference said they were excited about the app store but needed more information about whether an app they create for it would eventually be accessible using rival browsers.
Donovan Sandey, who is developing a website for individuals to share their video collections and rate films, said the Chrome Web store was a “nice idea” and would consider developing an application for it. But he is concerned that apps won't be accessible from other Internet browsers. “Does every browser become its own silo for carrying different Web apps?” he said.
In his address, Mr. Pichai also highlighted a number of new technologies Google is working on to close the gap between the functionality of online software and software than runs on a computer, including video technology called WebM that runs high quality video online.
Google also Wednesday opened up Google Wave, its online collaboration service which has been in testing phase, to the public.
(Source: The WSJ)