If imitation is the highest form of flattery, tech companies have inundated Apple with praise over the last decade. The iPod has inspired a litany of similar MP3 players, while the iPhone has forced competitors to rethink the concept of the cell phone entirely. One aspect of Apple’s business structure that has remained exclusive is their App Store for the iPhone and the iPad, until now that is.
Earlier today, Google unveiled a new online marketplace where consumers can purchase games, magazines and online applications via the Google Chrome web browser. The Chrome Web Store, which is slated for debut later this year, will feature both free and paid applications. According to news sources, the store will operate in a similar fashion as the Apple and Android App Stores, except the applications will be for your personal computer.
“Advertising has been a very important form of monetization on the Web, but we want to create other alternatives as well,” said Google vice president Sundar Pichai.
Although the store will only be available through the Chrome web browser, initial reports state that applications purchased at the store will be compatible across all platforms, including Macs. The Chrome web browser, which is Google’s answer to Internet Explorer, Firefox and Leopard, currently boasts 70 million users, almost twice as many as this time last year. And while the company would undoubtedly prefer users to utilize Google Chrome, the applications should be compatible across other browsers as well.
Much like other app stores, independent developers will have the opportunity to sell and market their own original applications. Although The Chrome Web Store won’t open until later in 2010, Google has released documents outlining the preliminary requirements for those endeavoring to create their own applications.
In addition to the introduction of The Chrome Web Store, Google also announced a new web video format, “webm,” which will be available open source and royalty free.