It hasn't occurred to me until now that the PC could do with an App Store. Anyone who owns an iPhone, iTouch, or perhaps an Android phone, will now be familiar with using application stores, and then having all their purchases presented in the most simplified way. In many ways it's not entirely dissimilar to a Windows, Mac or Linux desktop covered in simple, square icons. Revealed at this week's Google I/O 2010 conference, Chrome intends to provide such a system for online applications, including gaming, called the Chrome Web Store.
It's really little more than a gathering of your favourite web apps on your new tab page. But then, that sounds pretty useful. Especially if there are a number of online games that you regularly play. Rather than a list of bookmarks, you will instead be able to simulate your desktop of icons for your online gaming.
Google seem to be planning to take it further. The demonstration, which you can watch below, shows the browser running two games that have been adapted to work with the Store. First is Plants Vs. Zombies, which is now compatible with so many systems that I won't be surprised to hear when PopCap have got it running on Amiga, Spectrum and EDSAC vaccuum-tube. The second is a Lego Star Wars game running under Unity. Clearly neither needs Chrome nor the Store to run, but from the demo it seems that running them through Chrome will be a double-click to automatically seeing them fullscreen.
Being a store they also plan to sell stuff through it. Which could, if they do this right, lead to it quickly becoming the default way to purchase pay-for web-based games. As well as applications, clearly. There's currently nothing (I'm aware of) offering a central portal for everything of this nature. It could lead to a similar opportunity for money-making madness for indie developers as has so frequently been seen on Apple's App Store.
Letting you pay with what I presume will be a Google Checkout account means there will be no need to faff with credit cards, nor even filling in a Paypal form, but rather letting you spew out payments with the same terrifying ease the iPhone somehow encourages, letting you get just one or two more completely pointless apps for now.
It looks promising. And it doesn't require you use Chrome to access, apparently. Although presumably the new 'new tab' page will be a pretty convenient way of getting at it. It's due to appear sometime later this year, although Google aren't being any more specific than that.
So check out the presentation below. The games stuff, if you're impatient, appears around 7.30ish. Then let us know whether you think it's something that might be useful for you, either as a customer or a developer.