How to: Make any Chrome web app into a desktop app

For a while, Google has had a Chrome web app store which allows you to install apps in Google Chrome. These apps usually just run in a separate tab, which can be pinned to the side. But what if you want some of these apps to be in a separate window like a normal desktop app? It’s very simple.

  1. Open the app in Chrome that you want to make a desktop app.
  2. Click the wrench icon on the top right
  3. Go to Tools > Create Application Shortcuts
  4. Select where you want the shortcuts to be added (Desktop, Start Menu, and/or Pin to Taskbar)
  5. Click Create.

A shortcut to that web app now has been added to wherever you selected. Launching that app now will open it in a separate window without any of Chrome’s toolbars. I used this method to make a Gmail web app that’s pinned to my taskbar. Another neat thing is that, since these are just stripped down browser windows, things like HTML5 notifications still work as before (so, for example, Gmail will function like a native desktop app for the most part). Also, any links you click will open in a new browser window, so you wont be trapped in the apps own window.

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