Google Chrome Web Store Coming in October

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At this week’s Game Developer Conference in Germany, Google announced that it expects to have its Chrome Web Store up and running by October. The announcement is significant for two reasons. The first is that, unlikely native applications for devices like Android phones or an iPad, Google expects to be able to develop a market for applications written purely using standard HTML5 technologies. Second, the timing of the Chrome Store launch is probably an indicator of when Google expects tablets based on its own Chrome operating system to start hitting the market.

Google’s Chrome Web Store will serve as a marketplace for browser-based applications; these Web-based apps will be build using standard Web-based tools like HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript, meaning that, in theory, there’s nothing to restrict them to Chrome: any sufficiently advanced browser should be able to use apps from the Chrome store. Chrome users will get the added benefit of being able to install simple shortcuts to their favorite apps. Web Store users will also be able to read app reviews, submit their own ratings, and see how their friends have rated items.

All transactions will be handled by Google Checkout, Google’s rival to PayPal for online payments. Google also announced it plans to make very little money from Chrome Web Store app sales: Google plans to pocket a 5 percent processing fee on each sale, meaning 95 percent of the proceeds would go to the app’s developer or publisher.

The Chrome Web Store will support free apps and games, but will not initially support in-app purchases, so someone looking to give away (say) a free reader application and then charge for premium content wouldn’t be able to use that business model in the Chrome Web Store.

Google’s presentation at GDC, of course, focused on browser-based games, but there’s nothing about the Chrome Web Store that’s restricted to games. However, since Chrome tablets and netbooks are widely expected to be aimed at content consumers rather than hardcore computing enthusiasts, a focus on games and digital content isn’t surprising.

1Up.com has published an in-person account of Google’s presentation, with photos and screenshots.

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