Google goes offline with Chrome Apps for Mac

Google yesterday launched its new packaged apps, dubbed "Chrome Apps," for the Mac, making good on a promise from September when it kicked off testing.

Chrome 31 for OS X, released three weeks ago, now supports Chrome Apps, Google's souped-up, cross-platform Web apps that are much closer to "native" software, the kind written for a specific operating system, like Windows or OS X. Chrome Apps can run without an Internet connection and call on several Google APIs and services barred to traditional website-based apps.

Written in HTML5, JavaScript and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), Chrome Apps also look more like a native application since they run in a bare-bones frame minus any browser "chrome," like the address bar, toolbar and menus.

In September, Google previewed Chrome Apps and the associated App Launcher for the Mac in the early "Dev" build of its browser, but at the time said only that it would "soon" switch on the functionality in the "Stable" version.

Chrome for Windows has had Chrome App support since September's Chrome 29, with preliminary support going back as far as February. The Linux version of Chrome cannot yet run Chrome Apps.

Google has been pushing the packaged app strategy since its I/O developer conference in June 2012. Analysts have viewed the move as an attempt to subvert rivals' operating systems by using the popular Chrome browser as a Trojan horse.

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