Google (News - Alert) notably has a very big vested interest in an Internet that is fast, ubiquitous and full of rich apps that people enjoy using, all the better to create a improved climate for its advertising revenue model.
That has led Google to become an Internet service provider (Google Fiber), a Wi-Fi hotspot services provider (Starbucks), a phone supplier (Motorola (News - Alert)), a tablet supplier (Nexus) and a provider a sometimes bewildering family of applications providing video, music, image and text entertainment, messaging, voice, office and work apps, search, mobile and PC operating systems.
Now Google is introducing what it says is a new type of Chrome App that helps Chrome apps function both online and offline.
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The new Chrome Apps marry the speed, security and flexibility of the Web with the sorts of functionality previously only available with software installed on user devices. That’s one key problem for cloud-based apps of all types, and historically has been a problem for remotely-served apps and processes in general.
If you’re using Windows or a Chromebook, you can check them out in the “For your desktop” collection in the Chrome Web Store (Mac & Linux coming soon).
Among the touted advantages is the ability to work or play offline, even when a user does not have an Internet connection.
The user experience is designed to more like a streamlined app, and less like a Web application. That means an experience without tabs, buttons or text boxes.
The new Chrome Apps will allow users to access and save documents, photos and videos either on a local hard drive as well as on Google Drive and other Web services.
A notification system provides desktop notifications such as reminders and updates.
Chrome Apps also interface with USB, Bluetooth and other devices connected to your desktop, including digital cameras.
Apps update in the background, eliminating the need to download updates.
Chrome apps take advantage of Chrome’s built-in security features such as Sandboxing, eliminating the need to fuss around with third party firewalls or security apps.
The Chrome App Launcher for Windows lives in the taskbar and launches user apps into their own windows, outside of Chrome, just like desktop apps.
An example is Pixlr Touch Up, which allows users to quickly touch up, crop, resize and adjust photos from a user’s computer or Google Drive, or add effects. And it works offline.
The point is that Google Apps are another way Google is trying to improve the experience of using a cloud-based app by making it feel like a locally-resident app. That is part of the general move to cloud computing, and shows how apps can change in that shift.
Edited by Alisen Downey