How to Use your Favorite Web Apps on your Desktop without the Browser
This tutorial assumes you're using Google Chrome, but you can also use Mozilla's Prism, a standalone browser made for this purpose, as well. The advantage of using Chrome is that Offline support for Google applications is supported out of the box, while Prism requires the Google Gears extension. I recommend using Chrome, even if you don't intend on using it as your default browser, since the browser interface won't show when using this tutorial.
Nowadays, we find ourselves using our web browsers more than any other application on our computers. The line dividing websites and desktop applications is starting to blur faster and faster as we find that some websites excel where their desktop application counterparts stand short. And of course, there are sites that we use regularly for social purposes, such as Twitter and Facebook.
Wouldn't it be great if we could use these websites as native applications, without having to download any third-party programs to bridge the gap? I'm glad to say that it is indeed possible to do this, and it doesn't require much
- Right-Click on your desktop, and click New -> Shortcut.
- When prompted for the location you want the shortcut to open, paste this:
You can load the mobile versions of websites (ie http://m.twitter.com) to better accommodate your desktop.
- Choose an icon for your shortcut, because it will be the Chrome icon by default. You can find icons by searching Google images, as well as Icon Archive - 30,800+ free icons, buddy icons, xp icons, vista icons, desktop icons. The icons should be downloaded in .ICO format, not PNG.
To change the icon for your new shortcut:
- Right-Click on the shortcut, and click Properties.
- While in the Shortcut tab, click Change Icon.
- Browse for your icon and hit OK, then Apply when you're finished. You can also change the comment for your icon, which is the text that shows up when you hover over it.
And that's it. It's a simple and useful trick to make things easier for you. The nice thing about this is that Chrome remembers window positions and sizes, so you don't need to waste time setting everything up each time.
Some websites, such as Facebook, will override your icon choice by replacing it with a favico, which is a low resolution icon. You can prevent his by right-clicking on your shortcut and marking it Read Only