In early September, just in time for the fifth anniversary of Google Chrome, the Internet-store of the browser appeared not quite normal application. Based on the technologies used to develop web applications (HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS), however, they are analogues of conventional desktop applications. In contrast to the thousands of other extensions for the browser, they work offline, can be run without a browser, and also have their own interface, which is not the usual elements of appearance Chrome (address bar, tabs and other things). But their features do not end there.

Applications that are rendered in the Chrome web store in special section “For computer”, able to work in full screen mode (without displaying the Windows taskbar) and to interact with the hardware of the computer (connected devices, USB, Bluetooth). In short, it is a fully functional program for your desktop that are associated with only the Chrome, browser you can’t install them.

At the time of the emergence of a new Chapter “For computer” apps it was not very much, but over the past few months the list has expanded. And therefore it is now interesting to see which programs may offer the Chrome web store for your desktop.

The app launcher

First of all, pay attention to their startup. Work with applications the new type offered via the Launchpad, which appears immediately after the installation of the first of such applications.

The icon for it imposed on the Windows taskbar. The panel looks like a reduced copy of the page is chrome://apps in the browser: application icons are displayed in a small box, which contains sixteen labels.

If applications more on the panel creates a second page. For easy navigation through the installed programs, you can use the search box that is provided with capabilities of smart address bar browser: you can not only find installed apps, but to search in Google, search browsing history, finding new apps in the Chrome store and even install them.

The installation is performed without opening a browser, directly in the Launchpad. After starting the application opens in a separate window and runs as a normal desktop program. It is possible, for example, to pin to the Windows taskbar.

It should be borne in mind that the Launchpad app for desktop not separated from the others, which of course is not very convenient.

Chrome apps for desktop are an important feature that distinguishes them from conventional programs. Like other add-ons for your browser, they are synced across devices. The reference here is to a Google account, which is used in Chrome. By default, all objects are synchronized, but if transfer of data is not necessary, this feature can be disabled for all content, or, say, only for applications.

Another feature of Chrome, which is used new applications for desktop notifications. They are not associated with the browser window and is displayed in the system tray (the app must be running). For example, works well with this function the application Google Keep, where you can set a reminder to perform the task, and at the appointed time in the lower right corner of the screen a notification will appear.

The list of notifications Chrome very handy: it displays all the missed reminder. In addition, it is possible to configure applications that will use this feature.

Currently, the Chrome web store available about three dozen applications for the desktop.

Google Keep

This app can be considered a desktop client for the same service for creating notes, which is also available at and as an Android app. With Google Keep you can make lists and also use it to store text and picture notes. The application supports the allocation of notes by color, the output task reminders at a specified time or when the user is in a certain place. Search for notes and view all tasks in one of two modes: list or table.


This app is another customer service to increase personal effectiveness Wunderlist, which has also clients for all major mobile platforms, Mac and Windows. The service offers a user-friendly interface for planning and leisure, create shopping lists, wish lists and other things. Wunderlist supports voice input, allows you to create subtasks, attach the project files and add comments. The service is well implemented social component — on tasks can work together, share your lists with other people and control the implementation of Affairs.

App for Chrome has the same function as the client for Windows — they even look almost the same. To use the Chrome version is perhaps that in order to work on multiple devices not to install the software on each of them.

Pixlr Touch Up

The usual programs and utilities that the user accesses regularly, are increasingly replaced by web applications. Online tools don’t need to install, they are always available on any PC, work just as well offline applications. Some of them, such as service Autodesk Pixlr has reached a level where the web application can become the main tool used in the work. At this service, there’s an app for Chrome called Pixlr Editor. This is full — featured graphics editor in the browser, but without Internet connection it cannot work.

And here is the app Pixlr Touch Up can be used as a normal easy offline photo editor. It makes available a small set of tools for processing images that are useful for the preparation of personal photos to publish on forums, social networks and communities.

The app gives you the ability to quickly “bring to mind” graphic image to crop to the desired size, adjust the contrast of images, to change colour and brightness, rotate the image and get the effect of “soft focus”.

Despite the fact that the application does not contain a tenth of the opportunities service of the same name, Pixlr Touch Up can be very simple to fix complex defects of the image. For example, using the tool to Touch Up photographs masked the imperfections, and the clone brush removes random objects caught in the camera’s field of view. There are in-app and small set of filters to create different effects. To demonstrate the action of these filters Pixlr Touch Up generates a library preview.

Interestingly, Pixlr Touch Up supports loading images from the local computer, but also with the service “Google Drive”. Save your finished projects is also possible immediately on the cloud service.

TechSmith Snagit

While not all developers have realized the advantages of running independent Chrome apps and functions some of them do not correspond to the concept of “non-browser and the Internet”.

For example, the TechSmith Snagit app was conceived as a tool for fast editing of screenshots and sending them to other people. The user makes a screen capture, and then, if necessary, leaves in the image are some auxiliary notes, and then instantly receive a short link to a picture which can share with colleagues. The idea is good, but the implementation is not quite logical.

In fact, the app is a great editor but a screen capture does not. To use it, you must also set the extension TechSmith Snagit (Extension), which adds to the Chrome interface button for screen capture. The app only works with images captured using TechSmith Snagit (Extension).

They are added to the library application, after which you can designate on the created screenshot or a rounded rectangular region, specify the arrows on the important elements and add text. For the selected screenshot is generated quick short link

And what happens? App for desktop TechSmith Snagit only controls the screenshots, but does not make them and does not support loading images from external sources. Extension TechSmith Snagit (Extension), with which it is paired, the only runs in the browser and makes the capture only web pages. It turns out that the app actually can’t work without a browser or without the Internet.


Perhaps one of the most useful Chrome apps in “manage computer” — it Pocket. The application is a customer service of the same name, the main purpose of which — to save articles found by the user on the Internet to read sometime later. The Pocket app displays all posts that have been previously saved, giving the opportunity to watch them in a list or thumbnails, or search by title or URL. To read the article in a convenient way, without ads and all the extra elements that a web page can distract from reading. Publications you can add to favorites, send to archive, share them on social networks.

In General nothing new, but the main feature of the app for Chrome — full-time job offline. It turns out that now from the desktop you can get access to previously saved articles without having to access the browser even when Internet connection is unavailable.


Another web service that offers its Chrome app for desktop Magisto. This service helps you quickly create short videos (no longer than 15 minutes and no larger than 500 MB), interspersing them with photos topic, as well as providing sound. The service works in fully automatic mode, being able to analyze the captured video, choose the most successful scenes add appropriate video effects and transitions.

Using the app for Chrome, you can use Magisto without a browser. Work on the film is divided into four stages: adding videos and photos, select a style, add a soundtrack (you can use the melody from his collection or one of the), add header. All this happens in the application window, but without the Internet the app still can not work, because all the work of processing video is done on a remote server. Besides, in order to see the finished video, you need to open a page My Movies in the browser.

VNC Viewer for Google Chrome

System remote control computer VNC is one of the most successful and convenient. App VNC Viewer for Google Chrome developed by RealVNC, the inventor of this technology. The app allows you to connect to any computer running Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and UNIX, running on any compatible VNC server.

The application can run in full screen mode. To manage a remote computer you can use the virtual keyboard with function keys. You also specify the quality of the transmitted image. The connection can be encrypted if this feature is enabled on the server side.


The choice of add-ons to Google Chrome that could work as a normal desktop program is still small. Perhaps the developers still hard to get used to the fact that the browser has become something more than just a program to surf the Network. There is a clear shortage of ideas. However, this is likely temporarily. Even if such applications will not have any advantages over offline programs that will always be one argument in their favor — a result of the synchronization in browser on newer devices, all of them become available automatically, without tedious installation procedures. But in the end, whether popular Chrome apps for desktop, time will tell. Let’s see how the situation will change in a year or two.


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