Google Shows Off Chrome Web Store, “Always Connected” Chrome Notebook
It’s easy to sell premium applications on smartphones; Apple’s iTunes App Store has proven that. Is it equally easy to sell them on the Web? We’ll soon find out. At an event in San Francisco this morning, Google launched an updated version its Chrome Web Store, an applications storefront for its Chrome browser and Chrome OS, and showed off a Chrome notebook as well.
The Chrome store is all about the discovery of applications for consumers and monetization of apps for developers. And in Google says it’s primary focus is to showcase partners. With that in mind, Google showed off a parade Chrome apps, among them NPR, Sports Illustrated, New York Times, Electronic Arts and its Poppit game and Amazon and its Windowshop app, and Kindle for the Web, of course.
Some of these apps are still in developments, but a few of them and hundreds of others will go live today when Google officially launches the Chrome Web Store at chrome.google.com/webstore.
Also on display at today’s event, a Chrome notebook. Designed with Google’s monomanaical focus on speed and simplicity, the machine seemed very fast for what it does with near instant boot and essentially instant resume. A guest mode feature makes the device easy to share among several users by retaining separate user profiles. And an offline mode allows users to continue to use Web apps like Google Docs without connectivity and even if other users with connectivity are working in the same document. Seamless auto-updates and application sand-boxing keep the device secure and some other enterprise-friendly features. Finally, the machine, which will initially be built by OEMs like Acer, features built-in data connectivity that allows users to easily switch between WiFi and 3G, thanks to a partnership with Verizon (no contract, pay for what you use, plans start at $9.99 a month, 100MB free every month for 2 years).
To further drive Chrome’s development, Google is running a Chrome OS pilot program through which select users and a handful of partners like American Airlines, Logitech and Virgin America can beta-test early unbranded Chrome notebooks called C48s.