Enjoying the freedom of portable apps.

By richard | 05/07/2010

Portable Apps is an interesting option for those of us who use work computers rather than our own. It is also a good solution for those of us who change desktop all the time but can’t play with our phones whilst at work.

A good method for transporting a personalised experience with you

A few days ago I wrote about Chrome as a PAF file and things have become more interesting as a result.

What I particularly enjoy are the extensions that you can install within the browser. Anyone who works in an office always faces the challenge of getting authorisation to install the simplest of applications. With google chrome and extensions you regain some of that freedom.

The browser allows you to install the extensions of your liking and use them. Some of these applications are the mobile phone version implemented in the desktop format. The best example of this is the yahoo messenger app. Very similar builds are running on the desktop and mobile phone.

The other features are google calendar, facebook and feedly extensions. There is choice. I have feedly running to let me know how many RSS items are left to read. With the google calendar application I can see how much time is left before my next meeting/time commitment. With facebook I can see how many pending messages are waiting for my action.

The advantage of this way of doing things is that you can cut down on the number of open tabs. It is an on demand interaction. It is only open for as long as you are doing something. That’s like mobile applications.

What we see here is a shift away from the traditional web browser where information is displayed according to a cascading style sheet and towards an application based system. The application is installed locally and the only information that you gather from the server is raw data. As a result even with slower connections you can participate, whether from a mobile phone or whilst travelling where roaming charges apply.

It’s an interesting space to keep an eye on. I like having the ability to customise my web surfing environment whatever the environment and platform. I wish that the app syncing would work for extensions, rather than for bookmarks and certain settings.

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