Google targeting cross-platform development with forthcoming Chrome browser update

Google’s attempt to unify its various services for all platforms is rolling forward like a juggernaut. The search giant is seemingly working on a significant update for the Chrome Web Store, which is used for distributing apps and extensions for both Chrome and Chrome OS.

The update, if and when it comes through, will bring multi-platform support to the store, which has thousands of applications and add-ons for the browser. With multi-platform support, developers do not need to create different versions of the same application for differing platforms like Windows, Mac or Linux. Instead, they will have to upload one app or add-on extension with everything that’s needed for all platforms. Users will only be shown the versions of the app that are relevant to their platforms. In simpler terms, Google will let developers build an app for all platforms, upload it once to the store, and users can grab the corresponding versions for their device.

This new development was spotted by long-time Chrome and Chrome OS evangelist, François Beaufort. Beaufort was recently hired by the Mountain View company to work as an open-source Chromium developer and promoter. The Frenchman has had a history of spotting changes in the code for Chromium and Chrome, which hint at forthcoming updates. This latest one was seen by Beaufort in the Chromium Code Review post.

Chrome Web Store serves up plug-ins, add-ons and apps for the browser

Chrome Web Store serves up plug-ins, add-ons and apps for the browser


On the subject of a possible multi-platform development for Chrome Web Store, Beaufort, said “Your zip file uploaded to the Chrome Web Store will contain platform-specific resources for each supported platform (a la i18n). Chrome Web Store will generate one .crx file per platform and serve the appropriate one based on your device.

Beaufort went on to say that the benefits of such an update are obvious. “Network bandwidth saved and less disk space used on your machine,” was his simple reasoning.

In the Code Review, Google calls this the “webstore multi-crx feature.” According to the issue report, it will be available for all platforms Chrome browser currently runs on. These also include Android and iOS, which means even the mobile Chrome Web Store will be able to get the same apps that its PC counterpart gets. Of course, the Chrome Web Store is a major component of Chrome OS, so developers will be able to seed out their apps for that platform as well.

This development could also be another way for Google to push forward development for Chromebooks or Chromeboxes, which run the browser-based Chrome OS. Earlier this week, the company put up the release date of the LTE version of its first homegrown device – the Chromebook Pixel. At the same time, the company updated the Chrome browser for Windows, Mac and Linux. Chrome 26 brings features such as “Ask Google for suggestions” in the spell-checking algorithm, desktop shortcuts for user profiles on Windows, and an asynchronous DNS resolver on Mac and Linux.

Published Date: Mar 28, 2013 02:13 pm | Updated Date: Mar 28, 2013 02:13 pm