A Google Chrome extension lets you find apps from the Chrome Web Store without visiting the store. The extension simply adds a plus icon to the address bar when you visit a site that has a corresponding app in the Chrome Web Store, revealed Mihai Parparita, a Chrome engineer and the developer of the extension.
"Discovery (i.e., how a user finds apps to install) is an interesting aspect of app stores. In some ways, discovery isn't necessary: a significant appeal of the store is that it catalogs all the apps, so if the user is looking for a todo list or Twitter client, it's pretty obvious what to search for. However, that assumes that the user has a specific need in mind already, and is aware that that class of application exists," Mihai explains.
The extension is currently in experimental stage and includes a partial list of supported apps in a text file. "One of the advantages of using a static list is that the extension doesn't send your browsing history to a server. Another advantage is that it's much easier to find matches for the sites you've already visited. After installing the extension, a page titled "there's a Web app for that" will suggest some apps for the sites you're visiting frequently," stated Mihai.
For now, most of the apps are just shortcuts and the main benefit is that they're easily accessible from the new tab page. Some apps offer additional features and a small number of apps are actually full-fledged extensions (packaged apps). Google doesn't categorize apps and doesn't inform users if an app works offline.
It's important to mention that the Chrome Web Store only lists official hosted apps. "If your hosted app is listed in the Chrome Web Store, you must prove that you control each domain specified in [the app field]," Google informs. There's a workaround for this, as the un-official Google Music app shows: linking to a local HTML file that redirects to the app's URL. The Google Music app is a packaged app, not a hosted app, so Mihai's extension doesn't include it.
You can download the "There's a web app for that" extension here.