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Packaged apps now available in Chrome Web Store

Chrome users can have enhanced experience with what Google calls the packaged apps which are now available throuh the Chrome Web Store. Google had announced the developer preview of Chrome packaged apps and the Chrome App Launcher a few months ago. Google enabled developers to upload their packaged apps to the Chrome Web Store and test them, but there was no way for users to find those apps an install them.

Users can now search for packaged apps in the Chrome Web Store. At the moment it is available only for the developer channel on Windows and Chrome OS.

What are these packaged apps? Google says:

Packaged apps deliver an experience as capable as a native app, but as safe as a web page. Just like web apps, packaged apps are written in HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS. But packaged apps look and behave like native apps, and they have native-like capabilities that are much more powerful than those available to web apps.

Unlike Web Apps, which are sort of links to websites, packaged apps behave like native apps as they have access to Chrome APIs and services not available to traditional web sites.Packaged apps allow developers to “build powerful apps that interact with network and hardware devices, media tools, and much more” and thus make them more powerful than mere web apps. Since these apps always load locally they are not dependent on the network so they can be used when there is no Internet access.

Google’s developer pages says:

Once a user installs an app, they have full control over the app’s lifecycle. Apps open and close quickly, and the system can shut apps down at any time to improve performance. Users can fully uninstall apps.

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So if you own a Chromebook or use Windows you can switch to the dev channel and start using the packaged apps. If you are using GNU/Linux, you are out of luck.

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