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Google to launch Chrome Web Store for apps

Company announces open marketplace during San Fran developer conference

Google has unveiled its new online application store, the Chrome Web Store, at a San Francisco developer event.

The store will be home to a range of applications, but games featured highly in Google's presentation with PopCap's Plants vs Zombies and the Unity-powered LEGO Star Wars: The Quest for R2-D2 both shown up and running in the Chrome browser.

Google also announced open web format project WebM Project and the now free availability of Google Wave at its Google I/O event, which attracted over 5000 attendees and held nearly 100 sessions.

"Think of how far the web has come since last year's Google I/O, where we demonstrated the potential of HTML5," said Vic Gundotra, Google's VP of developer platforms.

"Since calling attention to HTML5 last year, we've been thrilled to see the industry rally around making the web faster, more capable, and available in more places. From enterprises to consumers, from the smallest form factors to the largest, the web's reach and increasing capability make it the platform for the future."

Pricing plans weren't discussed for the online apps, but product management VP Sundar Pichai said that it "should be easy to create and sell a premium application on the web."

Speaking on Gamasutra's blog, Google developer advocate Mark DeLoura said that Native Client would allow C++ based code to run securely in the Chrome browser, enabling high-performance computing, 3D graphics and real-time interactivity.

"Native Client integrated into Chrome allows Unity games to run in the Chrome browser - on any operating system supported by Chrome - with no plugin required. Moreover, Unity also targets Android, making it a development solution that spans from small screen mobile games to large screen web-based games with a minimal amount of re-coding effort," he explained.

"Just as it's important for game developers to have accessible cross-platform tools such as Unity and Flash, it's important for them to be able to easily reach an audience, to be able to distribute their games without too much pain. With Android Market and soon Chrome Web Store, Google will offer the ability to distribute - and even sell - games, from mobile to web."

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