Skip to main content

Google launches new productivity apps for Windows and Chromebook

Five years after launching the Chrome browser, Google is unveiling a "new kind of Chrome App."

By marrying the "speed, security, and flexibility of the modern web" with the functionality of installed software, Google has launched a number of new applications for Windows and Chromebook owners.

The new Chrome Apps function allows offline working, cloud connection, automatic updates, app syncing, and more. Users can get real-time desktop notifications, avoid tabs, buttons, and text boxes, and interact with USB- and Bluetooth-based devices.

"Of course, even with all this great stuff happening behind-the-scenes, the apps are what really matter. We know many of you ... enjoy things like photo editing, checking off your to-dos or unwinding with games," Google engineering director Erik Kay wrote in a blog entry.

Check out the "For your desktop" collection in the Chrome Web Store for access to applications like Pixlr Touch Up for easy photo fixes like cropping, resizing, and adjusting images from your computer or Google Drive. And it works offline, Kay said, so those holiday photos could be ready to share before the flight home.

Popular mobile app Wunderlist has also made the cut, providing a simple to-do list feature with voice dictation and desktop notifications. Check off tasks while on the go, moving from computer to computer, even managing errands offline.

Kay also pointed to "action-packed" racing game Cracking Sands, which turns players into race car drivers, speeding their way past online or computer-based opponents on 3D courses. Connect your Xbox controller via USB for better maneuvering.

Google has also pushed out its new Chrome App Launcher — a dedicated spot beyond the browser where users can easily access apps. Initially revealed on the dev channel in February, the company began rolling out the launcher in July.

This takeoff includes a final version of the Chrome App Launcher for Windows.

A version for Mac OS X and Linux is expected soon.