Today it was announced at Google I/O that Google is taking the Chrome Web Store, it’s store for selling applications and modules to run in its Chrome Web Browser, worldwide. Additionally, Google is starting to add in-app purchases, and a flat fee for developers to sell products. This brings the Chrome Web Store even more in line with mainstream “app stores” like Apple’s iTunes Store and the Android Market.
What this means for the industry is that web-apps are continuing to gain momentum towards mainstream use, and will continue to start to cut into the penetration of “installed” apps, in favor of “web-apps”. Google’s example was the newly announced Angry Birds for Chrome.
Chrome’s whole concept and selling point is that all of its applications and functionality happens on the web browser and “in the cloud” – there’s no concept of a user really having installed apps, and everything that’s done is synchronized across devices, and accessible anywhere. Additionally, most of the actual data processing that happens in an “app” is done offsite in the “cloud”.
Lately, with the app revolution, users have gotten used to needing to download and install specific apps – both for their mobile phones as well as personal computers. But with increasingly fast networks, and persistent connectivity, the necessity to have heavy, bulky applications actually installed and running locally is being deminished. Users are increasily able to run apps in the cloud. However, this concept hasn’t caught on as of yet. Users are still used to app downloads. Now, with the Chrome Web Store, hopefully we’ll start to see consumers shift their expectations and confidence over to web apps – both for their PCs which will be getting smaller and smaller – as seen in the recently announced Chromebooks from Samsung and Acer , as well as their mobile phones, which will get even more powerful.
Soon, could we see everyone running with their mobile phone as their primary computing device,and simply slotting it into a variety of hardware interfaces, with form factors like laptops, desktops, and tvs? Probably. Motorola is already trying this out with its Atrix 4G Webtop, (press release) and that’s only the first step.