After testing it in a preview capacity for nearly 3 months, the new, redesigned Chrome Web Store is now officially rolling out across the web. And with it comes a new Material You facelift, new Chrome Extension categories, a simplified navigation and improved search. While the preview lived on a separate URL during testing, you can see the new Chrome Web Store for yourself at the standard chromewebstore.google.com address right now.
Overall, the new look of the Web Store doesn’t necessarily offer any additional apps, extensions or themes than it did before. It simply organizes it all in a far better way and doesn’t look like it is still stuck in 2010 any longer. So why is this an exciting thing?
Why the new Chrome Web Store refresh is exciting
Here’s the thing; I realize there’s a chance you’ve never actually visited the Chrome Web Store. Being a web store, all the things you can find there can likely be found on other URLs around the web as well. That shopping extension you use or the theme you’ve applied were likely put in place because you saw them on some website and decided to take them for a spin.
And the Chrome Web Store has largely been this sort of collection for a long time. Helpful, but not really vital. But that 100% could change if Google chose to put the effort into making it so. There are fantastic PWAs out there right now that need to be in this store. There are big-name extensions that need to be in here, too. And there is probably even a way Google could add in apps that live in the Play Store but install as a PWA when doing so from a Chromebook.
My point is, there’s great stuff out there on the web that needs to be actively collected into one place. I always dreamed the Chrome Web Store could be that place, but web apps were too finicky and the Web Store has been too outdated to really be the answer. But clearly Google sees the need for the Chrome Web Store to continue to grow or else they wouldn’t have bothered with this update.
And if they are really ready to put some effort behind it, I’m excited to see where it could go. With a bit of strategic placement and marketing, the Chrome Web Store could become the go-to spot to find excellent apps and PWAs, extension, and themes for Chromebooks, Windows and MacOS, too. That’s what’s so great about the web: it works across platforms.
We need apps like Adobe Photoshop for Web, Corel Vector, CapCut Web Editor, Discord, WhatsApp and more to be the face of this movement, though. What if users came to the Web Store and realized there are all these fantastic applications that live on the web, install in seconds, and work wonderfully on all sorts of devices? Perhaps we’d see a sharper rise in the adoption of web-based applications, and the Chrome Web Store would be a safe, secure place to find them all.
These are big hopes, but I think the web in general is finally in a place to deliver on such a dream; and the new Chrome Web Store could be the front-facing entity that helps to bring it to life. While there’s a chance this new overhaul simply stays a simple extension/theme delivery service, I really do hope there’s more to it than that. It will take a little effort on Google’s part, but I ache for a future where I can tell Chromebook users to simply head to the Chrome Web Store to find all the best services and apps for their Chromebooks.