What is the difference between Chrome apps and extensions?


Chrome has a great variety of tools that allow you to extend your browsing experience way past navigating the web. You can extend your browser’s usability by using Chrome apps and extensions, but many times users have no idea what the difference between them is.

François Beaufort has been making videos to answer frequently asked questions about Chrome and Chrome OS. So far he has shown us the difference between Chrome and Chromium, the differences between Chrome channels and what Chrome OS Dev Mode is. Today we have a new video that is all about Chrome apps and extensions.

What are Chrome hosted apps?

A hosted app is a Chrome application that depends on a website to work. In Google’s words: it “wraps an online website”. This means it could be as simple as a shortcut to a website. And even if it is more complex than that, it usually feels just like a glorified shortcut that is highly dependent on an internet connection.

What are Chrome packaged apps?

Chrome packaged apps are the future of Chrome and Chrome OS. Such apps contain the whole CRX package and data. This runs straight from your computer and does not necessarily need an internet connection to operate. A great example is Google Keep, which allows you to write notes even when offline.

What are Chrome extensions?

In a way, Chrome extensions are much like Chrome packaged apps. They also offer full functionality by running directly from your hard drive. The main difference is that extensions can add a button to the extension bar. These buttons offer quick shortcuts to managing your online services.