Whoa…Chrome Makes an App Store for the Web

At the Google I/O developer conference today the company is unveiling a number of remarkable new technologies, but one of the most notable is a paradigm shift more than it is tech. Chrome, Google’s Web browser, is now adding an application store to help with discovery and sales of Web applications.

That’s amazing. Apple’s App Store, the seductive jungle of little bundles of functionality that changed the mobile market, has also changed the open Web. As Google said at the event, it can be hard to find good Web applications. Now the Chrome App Store will make that easier, including posting user reviews of apps. It will also allow developers to sell full-screen, browser-based Web apps. It’s one thing to experiment with charging for Web content like newspapers are – but charging for casual consumer-level tech functionality on the Web? That’s crazy.

It’s so crazy that it just might work. Watch for the App Store inside the “new tab” column in the Chrome browser soon. This is a development that will take some time to wrap our heads around. If the last generation of the Web was largely about content like text, full-text a la Google may have been more appropriate for that time than it is for a future of Web applications and functionality. The App Store model may truly be the best way to experience that future. Amazing.

There’s a lot to think about here. As HP/Palm’s Dion Almaer just tweeted, “Chrome Web Store is interesting. What we need is the Open Web Store though. Also, would love to see details on how you put apps in.”

Google says that the App Store will appear in the developers’ channel of Chrome soon, and all apps will be built on standard technologies to ensure they can run in any browser.

Below, a blurry screenshot of a user’s purchased apps from the live streaming I/O video.

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