The new Chrome Web Store will be based on web applications. Applications can already be installed now by using a developer build of Chrome and starting it with the --enable-apps option.

On Windows the --enable-apps option can be added to the start menu shortcut of Chrome. On Mac OS X, you need to create a small shell script inside the Chrome bundle:

  • Open Terminal and go to /Applications/Google Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS
  • Rename "Google Chrome" (the binary) to "Google Chrome.bin"
  • Create a new text file called "Google Chrome" with the following contents:
#!/bin/sh
exec "$0.bin" --enable-apps $@
  • Make it executable with chmod 755 "Google Chrome"

Note that the same principle can be used to add command line options to any Mac OS X application. You may have to do this again after Chrome has been updated.

Now you can play with it and install the Hacker News application or my own kfalck.net application. They basically just add web shortcuts to Chrome's application menu. You can view the menu by pressing Command-T (or Ctrl-T on Windows/Linux).

Published 25.5.2010