Chrome has offered ‘Apps’ – bookmarks to web pages – to Mac and PC users for a long time. There is even a Chrome App store that gets little fanfare.  But today Chrome is getting serious about desktop apps.  In a post on the company’s blog, Google says that improved access to the computer, including USB/Bluetooth, full screen mode, desktop notifications, less ‘chrome’ (Tabs, bookmarks, browser bar, etc) and power off features will make the Chrome apps act more like real apps. So real, in fact, that most people won’t be able to tell the difference.

Today we’re unveiling a new kind of Chrome App, which brings together the speed, security and flexibility of the modern web with the powerful functionality previously only available with software installed on your devices. (Think apps designed for your desktop or laptop, just like the ones for your phone and tablet.) These apps are more powerful than before, and can help you get work done, play games in full-screen and create cool content all from the web. If you’re using Windows or a Chromebook, you can check them out in the “For your desktop” collection in the Chrome Web Store (Mac & Linux coming soon).

Here’s what you can expect with new Chrome Apps:

  • Work offline: Keep working or playing, even when you don’t have an internet connection.

  • More app, less Chrome: No tabs, buttons or text boxes mean you can get into the app without being distracted by the rest of the web.

  • Connect to the cloud: Access and save the documents, photos and videos on your hard drive as well as on Google Drive and other web services.

  • Stay up-to-speed: With desktop notifications, you can get reminders, updates and even take action, right from the notification center.

  • Play nice with your connected devices: Interact with your USB, Bluetooth and other devices connected to your desktop, including digital cameras.

  • Keep updated automatically: Apps update silently, so you always get all the latest features and security fixes (unless permissions change).

  • Pick up where you left off: Chrome syncs your apps to any desktop device you sign in to, so you can keep working.

  • Sleep easier: Chrome apps take advantage of Chrome’s built-in security features such as Sandboxing. They also auto-update to make sure you have all the latest security fixes. No extra software (or worrying) required.

  • Launch apps directly from your desktop: To make it quicker and easier to get to your favorite apps, we’re also introducing the Chrome App Launcher for Windows, which will appear when you install your first new Chrome App. It lives in your taskbar and launches your apps into their own windows, outside of Chrome, just like your desktop apps. Have lots of apps? Navigate to your favorite apps using the search box.

There’s already a bunch of new apps which you can preview in the post. Coming to Mac and Linux ‘soon’.

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