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Not convinced Google’s Chrome is a VM?

September 3, 2008

If you need further proof that Google plans for Chrome to be a virtual machine for running web applications just as much as a more traditional browser, just do the following:

1. Visit one of Google’s web apps (e.g. mail).
2. Click the little “Control the current page” pull down menu and select “Create application shortcuts…”
3. Choose where you want Chrome to create shortcuts and click “Ok”.
4. Poof: a shortcut appears and the browser controls (Omnibar, next and back buttons, etc.) disappear. Funny, doesn’t that web app now look very much like a traditional desktop app? In fact, the only control that really shows you’re still in the browser is a little pulldown menu that appears in the top left of the window border.

Gmailchromeapp-1

Obviously that’s not a new idea; Mozilla’s Prism is playing in the same space. But Google’s trying to make it part of the basic browser functionality in order to help drive adoption of web apps. It’ll be interesting to see if they succeed. I’m not a heavy web app user (I do use several web services, but I primarily use them through desktop applications; I’m posting this through ecto), but I do know folks who are. I’m curious whether they want an experience that is more like a desktop app or one that more closely embraces its browser roots.

From → Musings, Software

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