Pinning web apps in the Windows 7 taskbar: Chrome revisited

While getting rolling again with Google Chrome I remembered this cool option in the Windows version: “Wrench->Tools->Create application shortcuts”. as a tab in Google Chrome

Create application shortcuts on Windows 7 has a “pin to taskbar” option that pins the website you’re looking at into an “app window.” I love this because it makes switching apps consistent whether they’re Windows apps or web apps, and I avoid accidentally closing heaping piles of web apps, as each has its own place and icon.

Here’s the page above as a Chrome app window: as an app

I’ve been using pin to taskbar in Internet Explorer 9 for some time, but I like Chrome’s approach better because Chrome forces a behavior that IE9 leaves problematically optional. Here’s some of the differences and similarities:

Chrome app windows don’t have tabs or an address/search box. Internet Explorer 9 app windows have it all. Sounds like IE9’s better, right? Not necessarily. In IE I punch in new searches/tabs into whichever IE-like window I happen to see first, and later lose track of which window has which tabs, and there isn’t really help for that: you have to check every window, and that means you have to remember which windows qualify. Chrome’s model forces you to stick with the Chrome main window for these kinds of things. Tabs pile up there, and no where else, whether you like it or not. I like it.

Both Chrome and IE9 remember and restore the size/position of each app window. This isn’t a big deal to me, and is even a bit obnoxious, but I know this was a “oh, you’ve gotta try Chrome” feature back when it first came out.

IE9 has per-app jump lists and notification badges which some apps take advantage of. I tend to use jump lists only for recent files, which web apps don’t tend to support, so this isn’t that useful to me.

IE9’s option is more discoverable; Chrome’s option is muddled up with ‘pinned tabs’.  IE9’s drag-tab-to-taskbar is “obvious.” Dragging-tab-to-taskbar in Chrome did the very wrong thing. After not discovering it this way, I spent quite some time thinking perhaps Chrome ‘pinned tabs’ was its cool new horribly broken replacement…  but that’s a post for another time. No, it’s under “Wrench->Tools->Create application shortcuts”.

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