Google continue to invest in making the Chrome browser a one stop shop for most consumers needs adding API access to Google Wallet, Google Analytics, Bluetooth devices and even expanding access to a users music library. Google’s aim is that consumers will never have to leave the comfort of the browser, with apps natively installed covering most common activities.
The changes aren’t limited to desktop uses however, with Google keen to expand mobile functionality. The example given highlights the Bluetooth API’s Low Energy support allowing for the sync of data from low energy health devices like fitness trackers and heart rate sensors. The in app payment API is also an important step in encouraging developers to consider Chrome applications, providing a simple user interface for buyers and a Google Wallet backed platform for developers to sell digital and virtual goods.
In the short term this will mean richer, more fully featured apps for users of Google’s Chrome operating system, however, Google’s move to position Chrome with its own app store and operating system independence, will be seen as a threat to the Windows hegemony. It does lead to questions with regards to their mobile efforts however. Does Android have an ever shortening lifespan? Chrome would certainly offer Google a chance to bypass carrier restrictions which have frequently prevented Android updates and Chrome is first and foremost a browser and Internet, while Android represents an app-centric mobile experience. It will be interesting to see how separate the two operating systems remain over the coming years.