Google building a way to use Chrome apps without running Chrome

Google is experimenting with code that will allow users to run Chrome applications without running the full Chrome web browser. 

The "app_shell" code was found in Google's Chromium project by The Next Web. Google is currently experimenting with the feature. The goal is "to be able to run a v2 app and supply most of the Chrome extension APIs without running the rest of Chrome".

It highlights once again Google's commitment to building out the Chrome App ecosystem. Last week, the company launched an open-source mobile development framework called Apache Cordova that will help developers wrap their Chrome App with a native shell to distribute a Chrome app via Google Play and Apple's App Store.

Essentially, it appears Google wants to make the Chrome Web Store more like the Mac App Store offered by Apple: a central place to download software, except for all platforms. Chrome Apps will act like any other application, if Google follows through. The experiment highlighted on Wednesday will still let the Chrome Apps run their HTML, JavaScript, and CSS code, while accessing APIs but without launching a full instance of Chrome. 

In September, Google Chrome apps became more meaningful when the company included native ability on Windows and Chromebooks. The native feature did away with tabs, buttons and text boxes, getting rid of any distraction the typical web browser has. Offline functionality, Google Drive integration for cloud storage, desktop notifications, support for connected devices using USB or Bluetooth and sync through your Google ID to pick up where you left off are also included. 

Google hasn't said when it may launch the "app_shell" feature highlighted on Wednesday, because right now it's just an experiment. We've contacted Google in the hopes of learning more about its Chrome plans.