Google’s App Mall for ChromeOS is available for preview

Google ChromeOS Chromebook App Mall preview

In March, Google was spotted working on a presumed one-stop shop for apps and games on Chromebooks. Called App Mall, the tool is now available for preview on ChromeOS Canary. If everything goes according to plan, it may roll out to users widely in the coming months.

Google opens up ChromeOS App Mall for preview

Best Chromebooks offer excellent versatility when it comes to the app ecosystem. These devices can run PWAs (Progressive Web Apps), Android apps, and Linux apps. However, there is no single app store where you can find all compatible apps for your Chromebook. This makes it difficult to choose the right kind of app, whether to get an Android app or its PWA version.

Google aims to fix this with App Mall. It will be a centralized location for discovering new apps and games on Chromebooks. This much-needed tool has been in development for a few months and we now see it in action, at least an early version of it. Spotted by Chrome Unboxed, App Mall is available in the Canary Channel of ChromeOS 126. It can be enabled with the chrome://flags/#cros-mall flag.

Upon enabling this flag, your Chromebook will pin the App Mall icon to your shelf and app launcher. Opening it takes you to an app store where you can find all kinds of apps for your ChromeOS device. The left panel has buttons for Search, Home, Apps, and Games, as well as a shortcut to the Google Play Store. The app listings feature a full description and screenshots.

You can select the app you want to download, pick a source store, and install it on your Chromebook. For some apps, the Play Store is the only option. For others, Google lets you select between the Play Store and the web. If you select the web version, a pop-up menu shows up with an “Install” button. It is nice to see Google give PWAs a proper installation process like regular Android apps.

You can try the new ChromeOS app store on any device

If you have a Chromebook running the aforementioned version of ChromeOS Canary, you can enable the said flag to access App Mall early. However, if you don’t have a compatible device, you can still try it. Google has built it as a traditional web app, so you can try it on any device. We will let you know when the company begins a public rollout of App Mall.

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