Everyone loves apps, right? Google is the first to launch a desktop app store (though Apple and Microsoft aren't far behind), the Chrome Web Store, expressly designed for their Chrome browser. It looks pretty much like any other app store, with games, utilities, news, and other categories, except Chrome apps run right in your browser, in their own tab. There are hundreds already, so combing through the lists to get to the good stuff can be tricky. Here are ten of our favorites.
The Chrome Web Store is an interesting beast, in that many (maybe even most) of the apps are essentially unchanged from a typical website. This is especially noticeable for Google's own offerings, ranging from Gmail to Google Maps to Google Reader, but there's a pretty reasonable explanation for that: Those "sites" were always web apps. Until now, there just wasn't a central repository of them, but that's no reason to radically change the near-perfection that is Gmail just so the app looks different than gmail.com.
On the other hand, just because it makes sense doesn't mean it isn't a little boring. Of course Gmail and Google Maps are amazing, but it's much more interesting to look at the apps that are either dramatically redesigned or entirely new. You can keep on using your Gmail bookmark as usual--there's no particular reason to download an app, at least at this point. Once Google releases Chrome OS sometime next year, users of that new, browser-based OS will rely more on apps. But for now, your everyday Windows or Mac user of Chrome can restrict themselves to the more exciting apps in the Web Store. Check out our gallery above for ten of our early favorites.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.