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Monday, January 25, 2016

1633. Turn Browser Apps into Desktop Apps

I use Google Inbox for my email in Windows 10, but I get tired of having to keep a browser window open all the time. I often close the browser when I’m done working with email by accident, and forget that I need to keep it open for email. I’d love it if I could create some sort of separate desktop application just my Google Inbox email. Can you help?
This problem is the very reason why many people use a dedicated email client desktop application, like Outlook, Windows Mail, or Thunderbird on Windows, or Outlook or Mac Mail on a Mac. If you want to use the Google Inbox user interface, you need a browser window or an app on your iOS or Android device (The user interface is awfully nice—check it out at google.com/inbox, and once you’ve set it up, browse to inbox.google.com.) There is no client application that presents this user interface to you as a separate window, at least on Windows. On the Mac, you can use the MailPlane app (http://www.mailplane.com--Ken uses this application daily) or several other newly created (and untested by us) applications that present this Web interface wrapped up in a desktop application. If you’re a Gmail user on a Mac, Ken can’t recommend MailPlane highly enough—it’s a wonderful wrapper around Gmail, including Inbox and Calendar—that works exceptionally well. Highly recommended!
But back to the point—on Windows, you’ll need some extra help to set up Google Inbox in a separate window. The goal would be to have Google Inbox act like a standard Windows desktop application, and you can do this, with the right tools! A browser application that looks and acts like a desktop application is called a “site-specific browser”—it’s a way of making a browser window work like a desktop app, and that’s the goal here. Google Chrome, the browser from Google, makes this relatively easy, on Windows (not on the Mac, for reasons unknown to us).
Start by ensuring that you have a recent copy of Google Chrome installed on Windows (http://www.google.com/chrome). Start Chrome, browse to the Google Inbox site (or whichever site you want to create a site-specific browser for), and click on the three-line menu in the upper-right corner of the browser window. (That icon is often called the “hamburger”—no kidding!—because it kind of looks like a hamburger with bun and filling. We don’t make this stuff up.) From that menu choose More Tools and then Add Taskbar. The Add Taskbar menu pops up a dialog box that displays what the application will be called—change it if you want—and make sure to check the Open in Window checkbox. Click Add. This action adds a new item to the Task Bar. That’s it! You now have an icon on the Task Bar that you can click at any time to open a browser window specific to Google Inbox (or any other site). It looks and feels like any other desktop application.

For more information, check out the article here: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/use-chrome-create-windows-10-app-website/

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