Google's Chrome browser is just five years old but it has already gained the majority market share for browsers. It's not too surprising as Chrome offers speed, apps, and frequent updates that give the browser more functionality. Now, Chrome has changed from a speedy browser into its own ecosystem and even operating system. Chrome OS is still an experimental product for Google but the Chrome browser is what its users are familiar with.
With the introduction of new Chrome Apps, Google's assault on the desktop operating system has just begun. Google released its Chrome App Launcher for Windows and Mac, which allows users to quickly access all of their Chrome Apps. Windows and Chrome OS users have the benefit of being able to run some Chrome Apps as desktop apps, completely independent of the Chrome browser.
For example, the to-do app Wunderlist, runs as its own program, regardless if Chrome is currently opened or not. Users can launch the app from the Chrome App Launcher, even if Chrome isn't running. Of course, part of Chrome is still running in the background to support Chrome Apps but most users won't even notice.
Chrome Apps are more than just simple web apps; they're given access to your computer's storage, graphics processor, camera, Bluetooth radio, and more. This makes them much more powerful and feature rich when compared to web apps.
There are just a handful of these new, more powerful Chrome Apps at the moment but that should change quickly. Google hopes that Chrome's ubiquity will draw developers to develop more Chrome Apps, since they can be run on just about every platform from Windows, Mac, and Linux. Android and iOS do not allow apps to be embeeded into other apps so Chrome Apps are purely a desktop affair for now. Chrome Apps also do not work with any other browser, and will require an installation of Chrome to function.