Google has brought its Chrome Apps to the Mac, letting users install apps to their desktop for use just like native software. There’s a Chrome App Launcher for Mac, too, which resides in your dock and provides centralized access to all those Chrome apps in the same place.
The apps available work offline, and can sync their state across computers where a Chrome user is logged in with their Google account. They update automatically when a new version comes out, and “behave and feel just like native software,” according to Google. To find Chrome apps that work with the Mac Desktop, you can visit the “For Your Desktop” section of the Chrome Web Store, which essentially collects any Chrome software that functions offline, and includes things like 500px, Any.Do, Autodesk Pixlr Touch Up and more.
Google bringing Chrome apps to the Mac desktop isn’t strictly new: The search giant revealed its plans to do this back in May when it launched Chrome Apps in beta, but now it’s taking the beta label off and making it available to all. If you’ve ever used a site-specific browser like Fluid to turn web pages into desktop apps on your own, you’ll know the value of having this stuff live outside of Chrome itself.
That said, don’t expect apps from the Chrome web store to replace Photoshop or anything like that just yet. Still, it’s a good way for Google to get people using their software on their current platforms, so that they can get an advance look at how Chrome OS works, essentially. The fact that these sync settings with Google accounts also means that users who embrace them on Mac will be primed to start right where they left off should they ever pick up a Chromebook, which helps with Google’s long-term strategy for its browser-based desktop OS.