Building the Open Web App Ecosystem

The Web needs support for the co-existence of multiple Open Web App stores, and to enable users to use applications from these stores in a consistent manner. People buy their shoes, food and music from different stores on the Web today, and we see the same need for diversity and choice with Open Web Apps. We are excited to build a truly free and open market which is the basis for innovation and fundamental to the Web.

We recently launched a project to build the infrastructure for an Open Web App Ecosystem because we want to enable many different stores to exist and work in any modern browser across devices and platforms. The Open Web App Ecosystem will allow app developers to publish apps on their own website under their own terms, and will provide opportunities for individuals and companies to develop innovative services.

Concretely, the system consists of a machine readable format to describe applications (the manifest), a client side collection of the apps a users has installed (the app repository), a user facing application launcher (the dashboard), as well as the interactions to support commerce (such as proving a user’s ownership of an app).


Numerous app developers and companies have shared plans to build stores and services (search, recommendations, etc.) based on the Open Web App Ecosystem prototype we released.

On the technical side, we are in the process of finalizing the APIs and the manifest format for developers (read more about the details of this work here).

We are experimenting with new app capabilities such as notifications, app sync and the possibility for apps to exchange data directly if permitted by the user (allowing your email app access to your address book and calendar app for example). We also continue to work on multi-browser specific integrations of the user-facing application launcher (currently referred to as the Dashboard).

What’s next?

Our “integration release” is on track to be available in Q1 2011, and will have a stable manifest format and APIs, and will include initial custom browser support for most popular browsers (via extensions), application sync, and an application dashboard. Additionally we are actively working with developers of apps and stores to help them integrate a presence within the Open Web App Ecosystem into their plans.

Find out more

To stay up to date on the development or get in touch with the team,