The Chrome Web Store
A few days ago Google announced their Chrome Web Store, an area where users can add webapps to their Chrome browser and use them over the cloud. Most of the major players have already jumped on board, and it looks to be one of the new ways people will get their information from their favorite news outlets, eventually eliminating the need to navigate to each publication’s respective website.
While this may sound like a stretch, you may remember when most bands actually had websites rather than pages on various social networking sites. Yes, most major bands probably have an official website somewhere, but we’d be very interested in finding out how many people actually visit it compared to their Facebook page or their official Twitter page. It was a major change many of us probably didn’t expect–or want to expect.
New User Interfaces
The changes seem to be coming again, and this time it’s in how we consume media, thanks to devices like the iPad and soon the many other tablet computers we will be seeing in the coming months. Browser-based services like the Chrome Web Store are following suite and starting to emulate those user interfaces within their applications.
Chrome Apps vs iPad Apps
Anyone who has added the cloud-based apps of the Chrome Web Store knows that opening a new Chrome Tab will display the apps you have installed on your browser. For instance, the New York Times (who have managed to create one of the best iPad Apps when it comes to news) at the web store:
After downloading, it will show up in your window when you open a new Tab:
Now, rather than bookmarking a website, people simply have it ready visit the second they fire up their browser. They no longer have to navigate to the New York Times’ website, they simply click on an app icon in a new tab:
Some will notice that it looks a lot like the Times for iPad. The pictures are much smaller, but the layout is similar with a sidebar that lets them choose a section (in the iPad App, this is a pop-up menu):
The USA Today Chrome App also looks very similar to its iPad counterpart:
Is it Already Happening?
Being heavy Chrome users, we have found that using the Chrome Apps is much more convenient than the website. It’s really because the app icons have replaced our old shortcuts. It’s actually much easier to navigate the webapps because of their streamlined interface, and they still allow for Twitter and Facebook sharing, which should win over the social networking gurus.
There will always be people who prefer using the website, because it’s what many of us have grown accustomed to. However, we also think that web applications such as the ones shown above will continue to increase in popularity. It may even trigger the next shift in how we consume media. If anything, it just goes to show that user interfaces like those on the iPad have found a way to other applications as well.