Google's Chrome Web store and the future blurring of Web, app design

Google highlighted a bevy of goodies including the first iteration of its Chrome OS, but its Chrome Web store may have a more lasting impact.

Google highlighted a bevy of goodies including the first iteration of its Chrome OS, but its Chrome Web store may have a more lasting impact.

Simply put, Google's Chrome Web store is worth checking out. The app selection out of the gate is decent and it's noteworthy to see what the New York Times and NPR are doing with Web apps.

Here are a few thoughts about the Chrome Web store, unveiled Tuesday:

  • Web apps will make Chrome stickier and encourage a few more downloads. Why are those additional downloads of Chrome important? Google can grow market share and control more of its destiny. If the search giant can make the browser an entertainment diversion as well as productivity tool, the market share gains will come.
  • Chrome the browser is a starter set for the Chrome OS. I'm getting one of those test Chrome notebooks and the transition may be easier since I'm already used to the browser. The more people that try the browser, the more folks will be open to the Chrome OS.
  • We're starting to see the first baby steps toward the design merger of apps and Web pages. Google's Chrome Web store highlights "apps," but these extensions, games and rethinking of content are really new ways to present Web pages. Indeed, the New York Times app highlights new ways to present content.

On that latter point, my working theory is that Web pages will resemble apps more often than not. As mobile browsers and broadband speeds improve, Web apps will diminish the need for apps.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster raises the question about HTML5 and better design will impact apps. He said in a research note Tuesday:

While HTML5 and other rich internet technologies will continue to improve, we do not expect web apps to approach the usability of native apps for several years. And by the time web apps are equal in function to native apps, this early stage of the smartphone wars in which the app catalog is essential, will be over. In other words, we do not see web apps as a threat to Apple’s competitive advantage in smartphones: its App Store.

Google's Chrome store highlights how Web apps may be able to close the gap with mobile apps faster.

In fact, it's in Google's best interest to push Web apps along. The Chrome Web store may be the key selling point for Chrome-powered notebooks. It should be noted that Mozilla also has Web app store plans. Microsoft is likely to follow suit.

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