Google's Chrome Web Store goes live today with more than 500 apps at launch.
The Chrome Web Store is a big part of Google's future plans for Web browsers and its own operating system, Chrome OS. At a launch event today, the company showed off several Web apps from major partners such as Electronic Arts and Amazon.
Some of these apps look quite different than standard Web sites. NPR's app, for instance, closely resembles the organization's app for iPad, with audio playlists and multiple scrolling panes for each news category. The New York Times' app lets you customize how articles appear on the page and flip through pages of text instead of scrolling.
Google's also hoping that the Chrome Web Store will provide a payment platform for premium apps through Google Checkout. For instance, the game Dreams 2 is priced at $1.99, and "installs" in seconds. Free trials will be allowed for paid apps, unlike the Mac App Store. Of course, all purchases and app installations are tied to Google accounts, and sync across all computers.
Offline support will also be a big part of the Chrome Web App Store. Many Web apps can be used without an Internet connection, and will sync to the cloud once the user goes online.
One point of concern: Electronic Arts announced during the event that one of its casual games, Poppit, will be embedded with future versions of the Chrome browser. It's a nice gesture, but loading the browser with bloatware could be a slippery slope for Google.
The Chrome Web Store will technically work with any browser on Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS. The only points of integration with Chrome itself is the installation process, which sends apps to the browser's home page, and syncing across computers.
To check out the app store when it goes live, head here.