From Web to the Desktop

Just when I thought I had things mastered…moving much of what I do to the web, my world just might get turned around.  The latest news from Google is the ability to run Google Chrome apps from your desktop.  At least on Windows and on Chromebooks (which run the Chrome OS) at this point in time.  So, of course, I had to check it out.

It’s not like I need to do things local – I’m connected everywhere I want to be connected.  But I did start thinking about education and there are a number of scenarios that spring to mind where having a fully offline working application makes a great deal of sense.

  • your classroom isn’t wired yet;
  • you’re out in a portable and it’s just not workable;
  • you’d like to take some portable technology outside or on a field trip;
  • you need a computer to take to a professional learning event without wifi;
  • make up your own.  Think of any opportunity lost because you didn’t have a computer with you.

In the long run, I think that the real advantage is that any application developer can just develop for Chrome regardless of the base operating system.  You just need to have Google Chrome or Chrome OS installed and you’re off to the races.

When you visit the Chrome applications store on the web on a device that’s ready, you’ll see an additional menu item.

desktop1

I chose this item to poke around.  I was curious to see what was available.  Of interest would be a desktop blogging application.  Pickings are kind of slim at this early point but I did grab a couple of applications.  The first thing that it did was install a Google launcher.

launcher

I actually have three pages of things that the launcher can access.  Many of them on the previous two pages are extensions that are installed in the Chrome browser already.  Of importance to me here are the last two.  I downloaded WeatherBug and Google Keep as desktop applications. 

I ran them once to make sure that they were functional.  In this case, both of them actually needed web access to get going.  WeatherBug to get a location and to download the weather information, and Google Keep to get access to my Google account. 

Then, for the acid test, I closed off the browser and disconnected my computer from the home network.  Now, I started each application.

keep

bug

Both applications open nicely as standalone applications.   (I left a bit of my desktop in the image to show that they’re no visible evidence of Chrome anywhere.)

Both work as expected.  They were just as functional as if I was actually in a web browser.

It’s an interesting concept, this moving back to the desktop.  I think the key is that it adds much additional functionality and purpose to the Chromebook and it levels the playing field for developers who want to write for Windows, Macintosh, Linux, and Chrome OS.  It used to be that the web was the common thread that made this possible.  Now, it’s a browser that’s not connected to the web that makes it happen.

Don’t get dizzy!

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