Google has announced
that it is bringing its packaged apps feature out of developer preview to open it to the public, meaning that Chrome apps can now be launched directly from the desktop rather than through the Chrome browser.
While the service isn't new per se, by bringing packaged apps -- now called Chrome Apps -- to the public, Google has freed up app developers to take further advantage of native hardware and integrate a more diverse range of features and inputs, like USB devices. Further, it allows for local storage and offline play.
Windows users will launch the new Chrome Apps from an app launcher on the taskbar, reminiscent of how the feature already works on Chromebooks. A desktop launcher for Mac and Linux is forthcoming.
To kick off the desktop-based feature, Google has rolled out a "For Your Desktop
" collection on the Chrome Web Store. Among the selections for download are games such as Tank Riders
and Cracking Sands Racing
The video above explains how the native-like packaged apps feature works. You can learn more about the Chrome Apps update and what it can do for developers at Google's Chrome devlog