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Summary:

Chrome can never replace a traditional operating system. After all, you can’t associate any files with apps. Or could you? The answer may be found with a new web intents concept called URL handling: Click a link and the appropriate Chrome App opens.

Pair of HP Chromebooks

Those familiar with desktop operating systems are already familiar with file associations to programs. Click a .DOC file and Microsoft Word opens, for example. Open an .MP3 file on OS X and the operating system knows to play it back in iTunes. How then might that work in Google’s new world of Chrome Apps? A concept called “web intents” is the likely answer.

In our GigaOM Chrome Show podcast this week, we discussed this topic, which was surfaced by Craig Tumbison. URL handling is the solution, Tumblison notes on Google+:

“1st party apps will be able to register themselves for handling of URL patterns that they can prove ownership of. Registration will be achieved via a new entry in the app’s manifest. The browser will maintain a registration table, and, upon navigating to a matching URL, launch the app, passing the URL to it.”

How might this work? Clicking the link to a Google Doc or or Word Document in Google Chrome would open up Google’s QuickOffice extension or other packaged, standalone Chrome App for text editing; just like a traditional desktop. It’s another phase of Google’s plan to boost engagement and take over the desktop through Chrome.

Download or listen in on the podcast for more on URL handling, the new Chrome Apps for Windows, and news of the new Chromebooks.

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  1. A lot of additions have shown up in chrome to improve touch/gesture capability. I didn’t hear anything about touch in the new chromebooks. Is touch coming in the chromebook line?

  2. The only issue I have with chrome os is that it has limited functionality without internet access. I know some apps have offline support, but it doesn’t compare to a traditional os.

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