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Google opens Chrome Web Store to devs

Upload your 'installable web apps'

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Google is now allowing developers to upload applications to the as-yet-un-open Chrome Web Store, an online gallery of web applications and web extensions for the company's Chrome browser and its upcoming Chrome OS operating system.

"Developers can now start uploading apps and experiment with packaging them, installing them in Chrome...and integrating our payments and user authentication infrastructure," the company said in a blog post.

Earlier this week, 1Up.com reported that the store will open in October, but Google has yet to confirm this date. The company did not respond to a request for comment asking for confirmation.

But the company has said that Chrome OS will arrive this fall, and if it's allowing developers to upload apps, the launch can't be far away.

As 1Up.com reported, Google will take a 5 per cent cut of all app sales – rather than then 30 per cent typically taken by Apple's App Store and other mobile app stores – but it will also charge 30 cents per transaction and a one-time $5 registration fee.

Uploading apps to the store is similar to a procedure used by the current Chrome extensions gallery, and when the store officially launches, it will replace the gallery. The store will offer extensions and browser "themes" as well as what Google calls "installable web apps," essentially a web app with some extra metadata that mimics installation. It adds a launch icon to the browser, and in some cases, it adds a few hooks into your machine's operating system.

"An installed web app could be separated visually from other tabs, could integrate better with the OS, and could be granted increased permissions," the company says.

"Installing a web app in Google Chrome is easy and quick, with no restart required. At its simplest, installing a web app is like creating a super-bookmark to it."

During the Web Store's developer preview, the apps you upload will only be visible to you – not to other developers. You can try the developer preview here. And Google offers a video detailing the store here:

When the store launches, developers will be able to offer free or paid apps. If you charge, you can use either Google's Chrome Web Store Payments service or your own custom payment system, and if you use Google's payments system, a Licensing API lets you check whether the current user has paid for the app.

Google's Chrome OS is essentially Chrome running atop a Goobuntu flavor of Linux. It will not run any local apps – other than the browser – and the Chrome Web Store is largely an effort to mimic some of what you've come to expect from local apps. The latest rumor is that Google and partners will offer a Chrome OS tablet this fall, but the official word is that it will debut on netbooks. ®

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