The curtains rolled back on Google’s web store back in May, and since then not a lot has been heard. However, now it has been officially rolled out in the US and was showcased today at Google’s press event in San Francisco.
The UI of the web store is pretty similar to the iTunes 10 store in truth, though I’m not sure anybody at Google would thank me for pointing it out. It is basically a mixture of category lists, previews and icons, quantified lists and collections. Nothing particularly revolutionary and the apps are not a lot different either to what you would expect to find on an iDevice.
Apps such as TweetDeck and IMO Instant Messenger are amongst many apps available on the store from the outset, as well as an interesting ‘Amazon Windows Shop’. This web-browser based Kindle store offers beautiful on-screen previews of books as well as downloading books, reading them and syncing them in the cloud on the go in keeping with the rest of Amazon Kindle-ready devices.
Engadget commented on the apps today, saying they are seemingly browser-based version of iPad apps in functionality, though the operation of them is clearly mouse and keyboard orientated. This might be a little strange on some apps, however for games like Tiger Woods Online, it could prove a lot more convenient.
There are an abundance of apps available from launch, so early adopters of the web store will be more than satisfied.
Audio files on the web store can be played back within the browser in the background. By which we mean that they will play despite the opening of a new tab or new window, which to all intents and purposes, is great.
Purchases of apps are tied into your Google account, so if you’re a user of Android on mobile devices, you will be able to keep track of all your purchases from one account. It’s all becoming a little bit more of an ecosystem, Apple-style.
However, the web store is not just for the Google Chrome OS, with apps being built with ‘standard web technologies’, it may become available on other browsers too in the future whilst at the moment you can grab apps for the simple Chrome web browser on your Windows, Mac or Linux PC.
The web store is not new, though with this update it has become a lot more real, and with a decent number of apps from the start in the US, it could become a great success for Google.
So, what do you make of Google’s latest attempt at web domination? With apparently iPad-style apps using a keyboard and mouse, is it a feasible platform for so called ‘apps’? For example, isn’t it just as easy to launch the fully functional Twitter website than it is to run a watered down app when you are in a web browser anyway? And if you are running a relatively powerful machine, isn’t it a lot more fun to run a full version of a game such as Tiger Woods PGA Tour rather than Tiger Woods Online? Of course, this is only picking up on the negatives, but in a lot of cases this would be a reality. We will have to wait and see whether or not the web store becomes a success for Google in the future.