Google opens online shop for Chrome applications

Google on Tuesday opened an online shop stocked with applications tailored for its increasingly popular Chrome Web browsing software.

Chrome Web Store opened online at chrome.google.com/webstore with categories including games, news, entertainment, productivity, and family.

The virtual shop stocked with programs that add fun, hip or functional features to Chrome Web browser was intended as a spot for "apps" to be discovered, according to Google.

"The Web has more applications than any of us can count," Google vice president of product management Sundar Pichai said while opening the online doors of the shop at a press event in San Francisco.

"It is really hard for a developer to stand out."

He showed off an application that queued NPR broadcasts for online listening and another that provided eye-catching access to Sports Illustrated images and stories.

A New York Times application was built "from the ground up" for Chrome to make viewing stories and images more interactive and enticing, according to Times chief technology officer of digital operations Marc Frons.

"We are truly happy to be pioneering the next generation of Web technologies with Google," Frons said while demonstrating the Times application for Chrome. "It is only the beginning of what we can achieve."

The shop was only available in the United States but would spread internationally, complete with payment platforms in local currencies, early next year, according to Pichai.

Chrome browsing software has seen a surge in popularity, with the number of users tripling to 120 million from 40 million in the past six months, according to Google.

"Chrome now is this huge success," Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said during a brief appearance at the press event.

The latest generation of Chrome introduced on Tuesday featured stunning speed and hardened protections against computer viruses and other malicious software.

"The combination of speed, simplicity and security is what has given us tremendous momentum in the marketplace," Pichai said.

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