Google may not have found time to mention it during the two-hour keynote at its annual developer conference on Wednesday, but the search giant has still managed to confirm that Android apps and the Play Store will be available on Chrome, the company's lightweight operating system based on its popular browser.
The announcement had been widely expected, with some suggesting Google would fold Chrome into Android. While the two operating systems remain independent for now, Google is boosting the appeal of Chrome OS significantly by allowing users to access any Android app.
In an updated description of a developer session titled "Bring Your Android App to Chrome OS," Google said: “Today we announced that we’re adding the best mobile app experiences in the world, Android apps and the Google Play store, to the best browser in the world, Chrome! Come to this session and test your Android apps for Chrome OS.”
Google's Chrome OS launched in 2009 but has found limited success due to the restrictions of the software, which only works properly when it the laptop has an active internet connection. Chromebooks (laptops running Chrome OS) have found their biggest success in the education sector, but adding access to the more than 1.6 million Android apps available on smartphones and tablets today could have a major impact on sales.
Google has yet to confirm, however, if the entire Play Store catalogue will be available on Chrome OS or just a select subset of those apps and games. Google will give more details on when the change will come to Chrome OS during the session on Thursday, with engineers working with developers to help them optimize their apps for the desktop environment.