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What is the difference between bookmarking an web page (or web app) and installing an web app in Chrome? Is there any performance improvement for installed web apps? Or any other benefit?

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I watched the keynote from google about it here and there are several advantages (that I took away) for users to install apps:

  • There is a central location to find all of your apps: Icons are put on the "new page" page
  • Making the way web security is run is easier: when you install an app it saves permission so you don't have to click hundreds of alert messages every time you load
  • The chrome app store makes purchasing access to sites and tools and such much easier
  • Aesthetic things to make the page act more like a desktop application: automatic full screen, little icons on the top of the page and such. Though, I believe These features are in the works and not included yet.
  • All these things are settings that you can edit.

IMO, the app store and installing apps was made more for developers. It streamlines the developers access to payment processors, taxes, going international, etc. It also gets the app/page searchable in the app store, thus reducing marketing efforts/costs, providing accessibility to more users and hopefully allowing you to sell more apps.

Afterall, it's all about making money right ;)

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They also allow installed apps to be placed in the background. Blog post announcement:

http://blog.chromium.org/2011/02/amping-up-chromes-background-feature.html

Apps and extensions that use the new “background” feature can continue to run in the background—even if the user closes down all of Chrome’s windows. “Background apps” will continue to run until Chrome exits. The next time Chrome starts up, any background windows that were previously running will also be re-launched. These windows are not going to be visible but they will be able to perform tasks like checking for server-side changes and pre-emptively loading content into local storage.

Developer info:

http://code.google.com/chrome/apps/docs/background.html

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Installed web apps can access the Chrome browser extension API. This means they have access to bookmarks etc.

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