Google has launched a developer’s preview of its Chrome Web Store — the company’s directory where users can browse and install Chrome extensions, web apps and downloadable apps that run in the browser.
There are no listings available yet in preview, but you can start creating apps and uploading them to the store so they’ll be available. All the tools you’ll need to publish apps are available there, as well as instructions on how to use the Licensing API so you can charge for your apps if you wish.
Interestingly, Google is recommending developers pursue a freemium model for paid apps. “A freshly installed app should always provide something useful or interesting, even if the user hasn’t paid yet,” the documentation says. “If the first page the user sees is useless — nothing but a payment wall, for example — the user is likely to uninstall your app, and you might get some scathing reviews.”
According to a report on TechCrunch, Google will take a five percent cut of sales revenue. What’s up with installable web apps, you ask? Don’t web apps get served to a client from a web server? Well, yes, there’s that kind, and then there’s the kind you download and install. Google describes an installable web app as “a normal website with a bit of extra metadata.” The app is packaged, then downloaded and installed by the user, where it runs in the browser and can access local storage.