Don’t let the name throw you — apps have long been available for Chrome, but this is a much more robust release for the browser’s fifth birthday.
Chrome Apps is all about elevating the utility of Google’s trusty browser to that of an operating system like Windows or Mac OS X. And they’re not just starting with a few default apps — right this very moment, you can explore the full-fledged Chrome App Store.
Some of the well-known favourites are here, of course — Pocket, the handy read-it-later mobile app, for example — but these apps are created specifically for Chrome. They speak the browser’s native language, so to speak, so this enables Chrome Apps to do some of the nitty-gritty heavy lifting associated with “more legitimate” computing. They can communicate with your webcam, USB ports, and even Bluetooth devices.
It’s a big step for the Chrome operating system, which runs on special laptops called Chromebooks and is essentially just a Chrome Web browser. One of the biggest criticisms of the Chrome OS is that you can’t store apps on the machine like you can with Macs or PCs. This new update fixes that.