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As previously mentioned Google Chrome 8: Introducing The Chrome Web Store Google Chrome 8: Introducing The Chrome Web Store Read More , Chrome recently launched its new Web Store. Many of the apps included are, to the typical end user, little more than an icon for launching websites already known and loved. A few, however, give Chrome users access to something that more closely resembles iPad apps than traditional websites.

It’s these web apps that show clearly what the Chrome Web Store could become, and the direction of the web in general and Chrome OS specifically. If you want a look at that future, here it is.

If you’re less high minded than that, though, and just want to play with some cool new technology, you’re still in the right place. Below are just a few apps that I think bring something new to the web; a few even work without Chrome itself.

News

There were two main newspaper apps on the web store’s launch day: The New York Times and USA Today. Both apps are similar to their iPad counterparts, and both support offline reading.

The New York Times app is my favorite, but that’s mostly because I prefer their content to USA Today. In many ways it’s simply a faster version of the Adobe Air based Times Reader Times Reader - The Perfect NYT News Desktop Reader Times Reader - The Perfect NYT News Desktop Reader Read More , but without the Adobe Air’s crappiness or the paywall. Launch the app and articles are presented to you:

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The real beauty of this app is the keyboard shortcuts. The arrow keys behave exactly as you’d expect them to, allowing you to “turn the page” quickly, as well as to browse the articles. Check out the NY Times app for Chrome here.

The USA Today app is similar, albeit with a more feature-filled home page:

The addition of weather and sports scores is a very nice touch, particularly because you can customize both. For example, in the above screenshot the scores are from my sport of choice: ice hockey. Great perk, and very well presented app. Check out the USA Today app for Chrome here.

Weather

Remember The Weather Channel? Me neither. The web is simply the best way to stay up-to-date about the weather, and Chrome’s webstore had two great apps for seeing it at launch. As you know, Wunderground is the best weather site on the web Weather Underground - The Best Weather Site On The Web Weather Underground - The Best Weather Site On The Web Read More . Well, they’ve got a Chrome app now:

As you can see, there’s not much here. Just a pretty picture reflecting the area you life in and a little bit of information. Check out the Wunderground App for Google Chrome.

If you want a little more detail, I recommend WeatherBug’s offering. Sporting a similar “pretty picture” interface, this app gives you one-click access to forecasts and maps, making it a little more useful than Wunderground’s offering:

Check out the Weatherbug app for Google Chrome.

TweetDeck

Oh TweetDeck. Such a great program, but based on the always-slow Adobe Air.

Until now.

TweetDeck is a great tool for managing multiple Twitter/Facebook/Buzz/Foursquare accounts, and it works beautifully in Google Chrome. Launching in seconds and combining your social networks, this new app just might be the highlight of the Chrome store’s launch. Check out the TweetDeck app for Google Chrome here.

Writing

I like this one because it’s simple, and shows what Chrome Apps can do. Write Space is a minimalistic text editor, similar to FocusWriter FocusWriter - Minimalist, Distraction-Free & Beautiful Text Editor FocusWriter - Minimalist, Distraction-Free & Beautiful Text Editor Read More . It runs in the browser, but stores no information on any server; everything is contained within Chrome. Here you can write something, close the tab, and find it back later.

There’s really not much else to this, but it’s a good example of how desktop applications might work on Chrome OS. Check out Write Space on Google Chrome.

Conclusion

I could go on and on, of course, but that would take a long time. The point is, these apps are cool and point to the sort of future Google imagines the world of computing heading in. In many ways I’m reminded of Jolicloud, the web-centric OS for netbooks FocusWriter - Minimalist, Distraction-Free & Beautiful Text Editor FocusWriter - Minimalist, Distraction-Free & Beautiful Text Editor Read More .

Do you guys have any favorite apps for Chrome? Share them below. Also feel free to discuss the coolness of the Chrome Web Store, or its suckiness if you prefer. I look forward to hearing what have to say!

  1. Casper Cheng
    January 28, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I found an App which is to simulate a Mac in Google Chrome. Seem graphics are great and it got some web app in it.

    Link: http://goo.gl/XT73L

  2. Irishblake
    December 28, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    aviary.com - lets you use tools from extension whatever page your on. Does good job too for a freebie.

  3. Irishblake
    December 28, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    aviary.com - lets you use tools from extension whatever page your on. Does good job too for a freebie.

  4. Teege1
    December 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    So far, by far, my ultimate favorite web app for Chrome is My Jolicloud. It is like having a whole new desktop. I installed the OS onto my desktop, as was gravely disappointed however. Not much more to the OS than the web app. Having knowledge of Ubuntu, allowed me to tweak to some degree, but Maverick Meerkat blows this wannabe out of the water. Perhaps on a net-book that it was designed for, this OS would be better.

  5. Aibek
    December 22, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Yep, it seems you're the only one who decide to mention it. Thanks for heads up! I have just corrected the link and it now points to, http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/j...

  6. Lars Steen
    December 19, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Am I the only one who've noticed that the Jolicloud link is broken?

  7. The Old Sarge
    December 19, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    I still don't get all the love for Tweetdeck, I find it slow, cluttered and kind of ugly. Just my opinion. To me Hotot for Linux and Chromed Bird extension got it right.

  8. nm
    December 19, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Great post Justin - I was definitely having a hard time finding apps that I felt set themselves apart from their original counterparts - so this is really useful. The NYT app is by far my favourite.

    • jhpot
      December 19, 2010 at 1:16 pm

      Yeah, I really like the NYT app too. Sadly, the Times is adding a paywall to their site next month, but with an app this good for Chrome I think many people might just find quality journalism to be worth paying for.

  9. Anonymous
    December 19, 2010 at 1:05 am

    I really like the NYT Reader ... it's not a glorified bookmark ... it provides a cleaned up interface and improves the reader experience significantly

    • jhpot
      December 19, 2010 at 1:17 pm

      I agree. The USA Today app is fantastic as well, but...it's content is from USA Today.

  10. Someduckperson
    December 18, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Can't say I've ever had a problem with adobe air so not sure why this article need to hate on it so much. The chrome version of tweetdeck is slower to me, doesn't refresh as regularly and does not seem to provide alerts so it's hardly better in my opinion.

    • jhpot
      December 19, 2010 at 1:18 pm

      You experience is different than mine. On Mac and Linux, at least for me, Air is slow to start and buggy while running.

  11. grantdb
    December 18, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Great post... I found that the Weatherunderground app was about 5* celcius off for my home town in BC Canada, but sure looked great. The Tweetdeck app was good but found it lacking in features and no link to twitter profile for tweets in the timeline (could have changed by now), IMO the Yoono app has better features.

  12. Mr Timothy D Howe
    December 18, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    To be honest most of them are glorified bookmarks.

    • The Old Sarge
      December 19, 2010 at 4:01 pm

      Yeah, but the ones that aren't really rock. I really like the news apps. I actually read the news again!

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