Chrome Web Apps Scream for Tablets, HTPCs

By  |  Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 7:16 pm

For the better part of this afternoon, I’ve been gorging on apps from the Chrome Web Store, which went live today. Yes, I’m easily lured by the prospect of hoarding bubbly little icons that appear on my web browser’s home screen.

And yet, I have very little interest in using many of these apps on my laptop, where productivity reigns. My most frequently-used tools and websites — Gmail, Google Reader, WordPress, Pixlr, Bit.ly and so on — were bookmarked long ago. Chances are the Chrome Web Store is only going to slow me down.

But for leisure, Chrome’s web apps are killer. Once this blog post is wrapped, I’m headed straight to my home theater PC to install a boatload of video apps, music players and games. (I’ll share my favorites before I go.) And the app craze is clearly clouding my better judgment, because if Google was selling a Chrome OS tablet right now, there’s a good chance I’d buy one on impulse.

Rather than ramble on about the future of web apps for tablets and TVs, and where Chrome OS might fit in, here’s why I’m buying the hype at the moment:

Clicker: This website indexes professional video from around the Web, drawing on free sources like Hulu and paid ones like iTunes and Amazon. Chrome’s web app is the same as Clicker’s TV-optimized website, which is to say that it’s less cluttered than the main site. [Link]

Grooveshark: Free, on-demand streaming music by sometimes legally-questionable means. Listen while you can. [Link]

Onion News Network: Judging by the URL, the Onion’s web app was actually designed for Google TV. It delivers a steady stream of short mock news clips in full screen, so you can lean back and enjoy a bit of satire. [Link]

Chow Video: Loads of how-to cooking videos in rapid succession. I wish the app stayed in full screen after each one, but the default window is still big enough. [Link]

Canabalt HD: The minimalist backstory of a world falling apart sets the tone of this single-button platformer. It’s the only frantic run-and-jump game that I’d describe as “melancholy.” [Link]

Sinuous: Another relaxing time waster in which you drag the mouse around to avoid little dots, creating a silky trail in your wake. Imagine this on a tablet. [Link]

NPR: It looks a lot like the iPad’s native app, and has the same playlist and live radio features. Great for catching up on the news or grabbing a bit of culture. [Link]

New York Times: The app that everyone’s talking about. I like how you can pick from 10 different layouts, and offline support is great. [Link]

SI Snapshot: Athletes look awesome when frozen in time and blown up to fill your entire screen (not literally). [Link]

Graphic.ly: If you’re down with indie comics, Graphic.ly has free and premium graphic novels with the same kind of flowing interface you’ll find in Marvel’s iPad app. [Link]

 
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  1. bradavon Says:

    Can you post the website links for each webapp please? (e.g – nytimes.com/chrome). I am using Firefox and would like to try them out.

    Does the Grooveshark one just go to grooveshark.com?

    The New York Times Webapp looks fantastic (if only all webapps were this innovative and didn't just load the website) but it strikes me, it's natural home isn't on a laptop (i.e – ChromeOS) but on a tablet. Here it would really excel. It's therefore annoying Google makes it tricky to find the website link to bookmark in your tablet browser.

    As good as the New York Times Webapp looks I cannot see myself using it in place of newyorktimes.com. I'm using a web browser, a website is a more natural experience (probably due to decades of conditioning). At least on my laptop anyway.