An App Store for the Web

If you are familiar with the iPhone or iPad, then you are most certainly familiar with one of its killer features: the App Store. The App Store provides a slick, and captive, distribution channel and monetization facility for developers. The App Store also offers an easily searchable, and easily purchasable, shopping experience for end users. Those are the Good Parts of the App Store.

The App Store has its negative aspects as well. Applications written for the iPhone or iPad must be written in Objective C. This is not necessarily bad by itself, but it certainly limits your options and could prove to be a challenging learning curve. Also, the App Store has an ever evolving approval process. Applications can be rejected for numerous reasons, sometimes after they have been approved. This vague policy and sometimes seemingly random enforcement is a challenge for developers, and spell disaster if a money making application is suddenly pulled from the App Store. Those are some of the Bad Parts of the App Store.

What if we could take the Good Parts (distribution channel, monetization, single sign on, ratings) of the App Store and leave behind the Bad Parts (single development environment, single source of control, ever changing policies) and create an open and flexible application store for the Web?

Turns out, Google announced the Chrome Web Store to become the App Store for the Web! Google's vision for the Chrome Web Store is to take the Good Parts from app stores, fix the problems with the Bad Parts, and encourage distribution and monetization of web application across the Web.

Granted, the Chrome Web Store was simply a preview announcement at Google IO 2010. There isn't much more information available to me, either. But here's what I know:

  • The Chrome Web Store is meant for all browsers and all web applications.
  • The Chrome Web Store will feature a license server API of some sort.
  • The Chrome Web Store works with any web app built with any web technologies (HTML, HTML5, Flash, etc).
  • There is no approval process like Apple's App Store.

It's very early in the game, so details could change. Google is actively searching for early adopters and participators to help shape the experience. In fact, if you are interested in offering your web app or service via the Chrome Web Store, don't hesitate to contact me at sethladd@google.com, as I can provide technical guidance or further details and strategy assistance.

To learn more, I can recommend the (admittedly bare, but not for long) Chrome Web Store homepage where you'll find the (also bare, but not for long) Chrome Web Store documentation. Please do join and follow the Chrome Web Store forum. Also, keep an eye on the Developing Web Apps for the Chrome Web Store Google I/O Presentation. There will be a video posted soon from the talk.

I am speaking on behalf of myself here: I think the Chrome Web Store is a service that couldn't come soon enough. There are so many talented web developers, and many many more web app users, who should have the same (and in many cases, better) experience as other app stores. A web developer should easily, quickly, and naturally offer and make money from their web apps.

Interested in learning more? Keep watching this blog or simply email me.

Mahalo!
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