Google Inc. showed off a new online store for consumers to purchase games, magazines and other applications through its Chrome browser, in a move to give the search giant a central role in the next generation of Web media and entertainment. “Advertising has been a very important form of monetization on the Web, but we want to create other alternatives as well,” Google Vice President Sundar Pichai said at the company's annual developer conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. “It should be easy to create and sell a premium application on the Web,” Pichai said.

The Chrome Web Store, which Google said will be available soon, will make it easy for Web surfers to find Web applications and purchase them with one click, he said. The store will be accessible through Google's Chrome Web browser, which the company said now has 70 million users, up from 30 million in June 2009. The idea of aggregating a range of free and paid applications at an online store for downloading by consumers has been widely popularized by Apple Inc's 'App Store' for the iPhone. Google's mobile operating system Android and Research In Motion Ltd's BlackBerry and others also now have their own app stores.

Google also announced a new format for Web video that it said will be open-source and royalty free. The new video format, dubbed webm, is based on technology that Google acquired through its $120 million purchase of On2 Technologies earlier this year. Google said that 5,000 people were in attendance at its third annual developer conference in San Francisco.

The search company has been pushing its vision of so-called cloud-based computing, whereby consumers access Web-based applications through their browsers, instead of installing software on a PC. Specialized netbook PCs running Google's forthcoming Chrome operating system are due to ship later this year. The devices will only access Web-based software, and Google has said the computers will be able to boot up in a few seconds. Google is also widely expected to unveil a television-Internet product in collaboration with Intel Corp and Sony Corp at the two-day event, according to reports.

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