Chrome launcher for offline apps comes to Windows

Chrome launcher for offline apps comes to Windows

Summary: Google's Chrome 'app launcher' for offline browser apps is coming to Windows, with Mac and Linux to follow in due course.

TOPICS: Google, Apps, Browser

Google has released an early stage "app launcher" for its Chrome browser, which offers a container for browser-based apps that are designed to work offline.

The Chrome 'app launcher' for offline apps is coming to Windows. Image: Liam Tung

The feature, currently available only on Google's Chromebooks — made by Samsung, HP, Lenovo and Acer —  is "a dedicated home for your apps which makes them easy to open outside the browser", Google said in a post on its Chromium blog on Wednesday.

On Chromebooks, apps can be "pinned" to the launcher with a right-click for faster access to more frequently used apps. The feature is more of a desktop organisation tool, which, for other desktops and laptops, is designed to support a class of browser app that Google calls "Packaged Apps". These are written in HTML5, JavaScript and CSS but live outside the browser.

While packaged apps like Text Drive can already be used without the launcher, the launcher offers a place to access them outside the browser.

These apps have access to Chrome browser services only available locally and are missing typical browser interface features available via internet, like the address bar and tab strip. One issue Google notes is that users cannot actually search for packaged apps in the Chrome Store at present, however.

Released on Wednesday in the Chrome developer channel for Windows, the launcher will also be available "soon" for Mac and Linux, according to Google.

Topics: Google, Apps, Browser

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • HTML5 Lives

    Gotta find out more -- the future is obviously "apps" that run anywhere with any OS, any sized screen, touch or not, local storage or not, Internet connectivity or not. And that does fight the market segmentation that comes from every better features that the other guys do not have.
  • It looks like IE9's Pinned Websites feature

    And how many people use that?
  • Who wants Google crapware...

    Now they are showing ads in Chrome broswer as well...

    No need for software from an advertising company which sucks privacy and have shoddy business practice...
    • Lacks technical proof.... :(

      “Now they are showing ads in Chrome broswer as well...”

      Where are these ads you claim?
      • He means...

        He's referring to that tiny little line of text advertising Chromebooks that appears on Chrome's new tab page. Personally I don't have a problem with it. It's easily ignored, and if it bothers you you can just click the little X button and it goes away forever.
    • Not True.

      By using the Google launcher, pined to the tool bar and configuring Google docs to open in a Window, there are NO advertisements. I'm not saying Google docs is 100% a match for MS Office. But in this case, the app has the look and feel of a traditional desktop app. For those users on Chromebooks or using the Google apps, it is a nice step forward.

      As for the ads, have you signed onto lately??? One entire panel or 33% of the screen is advertisements from MS.
  • Chrome launcher for offline apps comes to Windows

    But its still Google and now they want to scan your files offline too. To heck with that.
    • They scan everything

      And send all the data by osmosis :-)
      When osmosis fail they have a Google employee behind and taking notes of everything users do...
    • Not true.

      You can disable this... sign on to and check out the lost 33% of you screen to ads. They are all doing it.
    • Wow....

      ... and the 9/11 bombing was done by our own government. You can configure your Google account to prevent this... MS does the same thing on Why do you think they forced you over there now?
  • Look built in apps!!

    Sounds like they have gotten up to the feature set of a 1996 Jornada
    • The Jornada is was cool tool.

      If you used the tools, you'd have an objective view of it. Not everyone can afford the MS Office suite. MS dos heavy advertising on as well. You can configure the Chrome apps to launch in a separate window giving it the look/feel of a normal desktop app without the ads. Maybe when you have time, swing by Best Buy and try a Chromebook out. (... oooppss... sorry, that was a shameless advertisement.) :-)
  • Great Feature

    I already use it a lot :-)