Chrome OS Moves Away from Legacy Packaged Apps, Welcomes Offline Model

by Ostatic Staff - Jul. 15, 2014

In recent weeks, Google has been reengineering a key aspect of the app ecosystem surrounding its Chrome OS platform and Chromebooks based on it: It is calling loudly for all local Chrome OS apps to be able to work offline. This is a major shift from the company's original strategy of making Chrome OS a nearly entirely cloud-centric operating system, and opens up new possibilities for enterprise users and consumers.

In 2010, Google created packaged apps to fill a missing link between extensions and hosted apps.  In a recent post, the company mandated that "no new legacy packaged apps can be published in the Chrome Web Store."

Apps that don’t work offline are still going to be supported, but they’ll become known as “hosted apps” — programs that run within a Chrome browser window.

Google recently finally gave Chromebook users a way to watch Google Play Movies and TV offline, and an increasing number of apps for Chrome OS work offline. This is just the latest in a series of moves Google has made to be a little less two-fisted about keeping Chrome OS totally cloud-centric. The company has added automatic offline Drive document syncing in Chrome and Google Keep for online or offline notetaking. Many Chrome apps work online or offline, including games, video editors, and more. And, Google has provided Gmail and Google Calendar offline features for several years. For a comprehensive look at Chrome OS' offline capabilities, see ZDNet's story

Chromebooks have been doing better and better in the market, finding a market in school systems and some enterprises. Reportedly, Dell's Chromebooks have been selling so well that they've temporarily been pulled from the sales channel while Dell catches up to demand.