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Google's new app store: Are you confused yet?

Pete Cashmore
Mashable's Pete Cashmore says it'll be some time before the world embraces Google's vision for the future.
Mashable's Pete Cashmore says it'll be some time before the world embraces Google's vision for the future.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Google this week unveiled its Chrome Web Store
  • The company anticipates a future in which a Web browser is all a computer user will need
  • Google has essentially launched an app store for devices that don't exist in public yet
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Editor's note: Pete Cashmore is founder and CEO of Mashable, a popular blog about social media. He writes a weekly column about social networking and tech for CNN.com.

(CNN) -- Google this week unveiled its Chrome Web Store, which aims to do for the Web what Apple's App Store did for mobile devices: It provides a place to explore and "install" Web-based applications.

The launch was announced alongside a new netbook running Chrome OS, Google's browser-centric operating system. And the Web Store is part of Chrome, Google's super-fast Web browser. Except that many Chrome apps can run in other browsers, since they're actually just websites. Oh, and don't mistake apps for "extensions," which are add-ons for the Chrome browser.

Confused yet?

Suffice to say, Google's grand plans are ambitious, groundbreaking and darned difficult to explain to the average computer user. That's why I think it'll be some time before the world embraces Google's vision for the future.

Google's grand plan

What is Google's vision? Ultimately, the company anticipates a future in which a Web browser is all you'll need. In an era when much of our time is spent online, operating systems such as Windows and Mac OS are overkill. Instead, Google plans computers that boot up almost instantly and take the user straight to the Web browser. This will be made possible by Google's super-simple operating system, Chrome OS.

In this new world of Web-based software, meanwhile, desktop applications are replaced with Web applications -- all of your data and applications are stored on the Web rather than the device. Hence the launch of the Chrome Web Store.

Missing pieces

Google's Chrome ambitions are hard to explain because these pieces of the puzzle are yet to be combined. While the Chrome browser is growing in popularity, with nearly 10% market share, the only Chrome OS computer launched so far is a test model available to a select few developers and journalists.

In short, Google has essentially launched an app store for a series of devices that are yet to debut.

Yes, you could use the Chrome Web Store as your starting point each day and jump into this new paradigm with both feet. But this is less intuitive when using a computer with existing desktop apps, browser bookmarks and other hallmarks of the existing paradigm.

It's a move that some early adopters may make, but a step too far for the mass market.

Slow progress

In truth, I don't see the Chrome Web Store gaining steam until we have devices in stores running Chrome OS -- expected sometime next year. Only then will consumers truly grasp this new approach to computing: A super-simple operating system linked to a Web-based app store.

Until that day, color us confused.

[TECH: NEWSPULSE]

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