Understanding and installing Chrome Web Apps

Alright, Google has launched the Chrome Web Store with tons of apps for every taste, from games to videos, to full blown image editors, but hold on a minute! Don't be confused, that everything is not what it seems, do you really know what you are installing? Keep reading the article to know what I am referring to.

Alright, Google has launched the Chrome Web Store with tons of apps for every taste, from games to videos, to full blown image editors, but hold on a minute! Don’t be confused, that everything is not what it seems, do you really know what you are installing? Keep reading the article to know what I am referring to.

You may not know this, but some Chrome Web Apps like Google Docs, Google News, Reddit, The New York Times Chrome app, Chrome Theme Creator and Google Books, just to name a few, are just simple links pointing to existing online apps or services. These apps may have some improvements to work better with Chrome, but ultimately they are just links (bookmarks), wrapped up with a very nice icon that gets installed in your web browser, which still pretty good but they are not full typical apps. To test it for yourself, go to the NYTimes Chrome app and you will be able to access the app with all the features without installing the app, you can even use IE8 to access to this app — it doesn’t work as well as in Chrome, but it works — .

In the picture below you can see how The New York Times for Chrome works in both Web Browsers.

NYTimes Chrome app in Chrome 9 and Internet Explorer 8 (IE8)

 

Now, full blown Web Apps are those that you install in the Web Browser, they operate as a typical program, and they are capable of working even when there is not internet connection. Some examples of full blown apps are: Write Space, TweetDeck, and Quick Note.

 

Quick Note

Chrome Web App - Quick Note

 

TweetDeck

 

And we also have the “redesigned” Web Apps that come from extensions that give you the same information in a different layout. The difference lies on how a Chrome App access permissions and the APIs (Application Programming Interface). Apparently if you have developed an extension you can easily convert it to an Web App by just modifying a few lines of code.

So, now you have a better understanding what are you really installing in your web browser.

 

If you are new to Google Chrome, here is how easy it is to install a Chrome Web App

Things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure that you are running the latest Google Chrome version
  • You will need a Google Account to install a Web App from the Chrome Web Store. If you don’t have one, create one; your Gmail account will also work.
  • Visit the Chrome Web Store to find and install the Web App you want.
  • Remember that you have free Web Apps and paid Web Apps.

Watch the video to learn more about Web Apps, how to find and install them.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMZLM2AhSE0&

 

When you don’t want certain Web App anymore, you can uninstall it with just a couple of clicks.

  1. First launch Chrome and open a new tab to see all your Web App.
  2. Right-click over the Web App icon you wish to uninstall, simply select Uninstall and click Uninstall again.

Uninstall Chrome Web App

As you can also see in the picture above, you not only have the Uninstall option but other options as well, such as Open as regular tab, Open as pinned tab, Open as window, Open full screen, and Create shortcut. This last one is very interesting because it allows you to do three things: Create a shortcut to your Windows desktop, create a link in the Start menu, and last it has some integration with Windows 7 with the option Pin to Taskbar, pretty much like Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) does, but not with all the feature of Pinning.

Create shortcut with a Chrome Web App

How to Pin Chrome Web App to Windows 7 Taskbar

 

8 Chrome Web Apps that you may want to consider using

Undecided which app you want to install? Here is a collection with great Chrome Web Apps to start with.

  1. Quick Note: “The quickest way to take notes in Google Chrome.”
  2. NYTimes: Experience news in a new way with clean and modern interface.
  3. Weather Underground: Get the weather information from your location and around the world.
  4. TweetDeck: Combine your Tweets and Facebook in one place.
  5. Aviary Image Editor:  Retouch and manipulate or create images from scratch with this Layer-based image editor.
  6. HootSuite: “Publish updates, track activity, and analyze results across multiple social networks including Twitter and Facebook.”
  7. Picasa:”Fast and easy online photo sharing from Google with 1G of free storage”
  8. Box.net: Share, access, and manage your files online from any device: Android, desktop, laptop, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry and other devices. And you also get 5GB of storage for Free!

 

Did you find another great Web App? Share with us!

Oh! If you are a Google Chrome lover you can also apply to test drive a Cr-48 Chrome notebook!

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me.