As part of our ongoing effort to bring powerful capabilities to Chrome packaged apps, today’s Chrome Dev channel release brings Chrome packaged apps richer access to Google services such as Google Analytics, Google APIs and Google Wallet, and better OS integration using services such as Bluetooth and native app communication.

Identity API

The Identity API allows packaged apps to authenticate users securely using OAuth 2.0 without the user having to provide a username and password directly to the app. The Identity API supports authentication using Google Accounts as well as third party providers such as GitHub and Foursquare.

The Identity API also gives packaged apps secure access to Google APIs such as Google+, Calendar and Drive. As an example, Google Keep uses the Identity API to authenticate users as well as to call the Google Drive API to save notes to Drive. The Identity API uses a webview based UI to show the OAuth consent dialog and when the Google+ API scope is used, it allows users to control who can see their activity on the app.

In App Payments API

The In App Payments API allows packaged app developers to sell digital and virtual goods in a packaged app. The API is built on the Google Wallet for digital goods platform and provides a simple user interface for buyers. In addition to one-time billing, this API supports subscription-based billing.

Analytics API

The Analytics API makes it easy for packaged app developers to collect user engagement data from their applications. Developers can then use Google Analytics reports to measure number of active users, adoption and usage of specific features, and many other useful metrics.

Enhancements to Media Gallery API

The Media Gallery API allows packaged apps to read media (music, videos and images) from the local disk with user consent. Starting with this release, a user’s iTunes music library will be available as a default media gallery, allowing apps to import and play locally stored music.

Bluetooth API

The Bluetooth API, based on the 4.0 specification, allows packaged apps to connect to Bluetooth devices such as smartphones and headsets. The API's Low Energy support allows Chrome packaged apps to automatically sync data from low energy health devices like fitness trackers and heart rate sensors.

Native Messaging API

The Native Messaging API allows Chrome packaged apps to communicate with native applications. This API can be used by a Chrome packaged app to communicate with native binaries that drive consumer electronics such as motion sensors or scanners.

During this preview period, packaged apps are available to Chrome Dev channel users in the Chrome Web Store. We've already seen lots of interesting packaged apps uploaded, and we look forward to seeing developers take advantage of these powerful new capabilities. We welcome your feedback on our G+ Developers page or on our developer forum.

Posted by Mike Tsao, Chrome Apps Tech Lead