Chrome Web Store Launches, LockerPulse “Popular”

LockerPulse Popular in the Chrome Web Store

Earlier this afternoon the Chrome Web Store launched as part of Google’s Chrome Event. As soon as I went and checked, LockerPulse was listed as a “Popular” app in the news category. Very cool. If you are a Chrome user (US only unfortunately) I’d very much appreciate you taking a few minutes to install and review LockerPulse by going to the LockerPulse app page. Hopefully we can ride the wave and get as many people as possible to check out LockerPulse during this initial rush to test out the Chrome Web Store.

Now, the not-so-cool part is that there are two sports news apps in the news section and they clearly prefer the other one, FanFeedr, to us. They seemed to have built a new app just for this (why?), and they’re entirely free. By Google’s terms we had to put that we are a paid app if we accept any payments at all, even if it’s not critical to the basic usage. They are listed under the “Featured” heading and also have a banner in the rotation on the right hand side. Oh well.

This launch is what I was referring to when I said “I did however have a very interesting series of email and phone chats regarding a big opportunity for LockerPulse.” in my first post back from my trip. All of the new feature pushes in the past month have been an attempt to put our best foot forward for this launch. They were all things we would have done anyway, but the order and speed in which things were done was adjusted to accommodate this launch.

I really have no clue just how big the Chrome Web Store will be. While there are some exceptions, most sites won’t benefit at all from being “installed” on a Windows, Mac, or Linux PC. The success or failure of the store will hinge upon the long terms success or failure of Chrome OS devices (which I remain semi-intrigued by…especially the data plans) and we certainly won’t know that for years.

All in all this has been an interesting experience, it’s some good publicity for LockerPulse (that hopefully we can ride for a while), and I’m thrilled we’re there upon launch building up installs and reviews, but from a developer and business owner standpoint I’m ready to get back to focusing on everything involved in turning LockerPulse into a successful business, irrespective of any one browser, OS, device, or app store.

15 comments on Chrome Web Store Launches, LockerPulse “Popular”

  1. Dale says:

    Impressive Adam. I’ll hafta check it out!

  2. Rob says:

    Yay! Awesome. Chrome making cloud computing a reality for home users is super exciting, but I’m a little terrified that Google is going to (turn?) evil once it’s got all out data.

    As for the app – It let me install and use it, so maybe it’s not US only..

    Anyway, looks great. Can’t really tell the difference from the main site but that’s good, as I already know how to use that!

    Great that you’re popular. Sucks about fanfeedr….but I don’t think you’ve anything to worry about on that front really – it’s a bit crap (to put it nicely!)

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Haha Thanks Rob. That’s good to hear that it’s not US only…that didn’t make much sense to me when I heard them say that.

      There isn’t much different with the app installed. The only real “feature” is that it allows you to link your Google account to your LockerPulse account with OpenID, so that whenever you’re logged in to Google you’re automatically logged in to LockerPulse. Not a feature that will really matter to most people, but I got to play with OpenID and Google wants the option there so it was worth a few days work.

      Down the road if the app store and cloud computing take off, we’ll be able to integrate some HTML5 stuff like local storage and geolocation smoother by being installed than we would in just the regular browser. Having local storage works real well for games or offline usage of productivity apps like Docs and Spreadsheets. We may or may not find that it works well with LP.

      I too wonder what will happen if Google owns everything about us. We already rely on them so much as a business, but at least they don’t know what I’m doing when I’m not using a Google product. It will be interesting to follow. For me personally, I can’t see a Chrome notebook being anything more than a cool #2 device, not my primary machine, although 10 years from now things might be different.

  3. […] of the Google Chrome Web Store launch. For more details on the LockerPulse App launch check out Adam’s post.This is just the beginning of LockerPulse and there’s lots more to […]

  4. nethy says:

    Hey Adam,

    I’ve heard about this and have been wondering what it’s all about. I still don’t exactly get it. If you could write a summary of what the chrome store is, what it’s good for (from a developer’s perspective) with some numbers and such from your experience so far, I’m sure a lot of people would be interested.

    Are there substantial functionality implications? discovery advantages? credibility? lower barriers to entry? How hard is it to get in.

    * Maybe it says US only because the content is US only (NBA,NFL, NHL ..) Maybe you should add some international sports stuff (eg FIFA, Champions, ATP..) and maybe even some games that aren’t played in the US (cricket, rugby).

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Nethy –

      I don’t totally “get it” myself 🙂

      Two reasons it could potentially be good for developers and users.

      1. When Chrome OS launches it will serve as a directory of sorts. Sites that other Chrome users have reviewed and liked. Another way to find new sites on the web. That was our primary motivation for getting involved.

      2. It might not be completely evident now, but Chrome Web Apps extend the functionality of what can be done in the browser. Right now, LP doesn’t have any “additional” features other than the Google Account integration, which doesn’t really even require Chrome to do. Down the road though, we can take advantage of Chrome OS “panels” (like windows on a regular OS) and of some of the more advanced HTML5 features. For instance, LP could use a panel in the lower-right of your screen to alert you of any new sports news.

      In terms of our results so far, it’s been pretty good. Traffic is up quite a bit, new premium trial registrants are up quite a bit. Overall it’s been well worth our effort.

      As far as I know, any developer can get their App in the store, although Google is manually deciding which ones get featured.

      And yes, we will be adding more sports from more countries as we go. Right now we don’t have the resources to do so, but it’s coming. It takes a lot of editorial effort to pick out good sources. The feeds take quite a bit of management (removing stale ones, monitoring those who move or change their feed URL, etc). And it takes a lot of server resources to constantly “poll” the feeds. We’ve got over 650k stories indexed since May. We’re taking it one step at a time 🙂

  5. nethy says:

    Adam, quick thought:

    Have you thought of applying the lockerpulse.. pulse to other topics (ie. not sports).

    For example, public companies or commodities? Marketpulse.

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Yes, we definitely have 🙂 I think sports is the most logical first step for us, but once the platform matures more it would be pretty easy to translate to other fields.

  6. […] a Cr-48 Chrome Notebook from Google as part of their pilot program because of our involvement with LockerPulse in the Chrome Web App Store. I’ve been using it quite a bit for several days now. My overall impression is that I’m […]

  7. Rob says:

    How’s things going with this now things have calmed down a bit? I notice it’s now showing as “Featured” which is pretty cool! Also I don’t get some of the comments – “needs to be free” “have you tried ad supported” etc. etc. Seems that people just want shit for free. I think we’ve got a “lost generation” in terms of paying for software…

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Things are going pretty well. The traffic and signups have been surprisingly steady (likely due to being “Featured”). The big test will start today and tomorrow when all of the 30 day free trials start to expire. Hopefully we get a decent number of paying subscribers out of it.

      Right or wrong those types of comments are something we’ll have to deal with. I wish people didn’t expect everything for free, but it’s the reality of the situation. We’re going to keep making the premium account better and better while also building out a custom ad platform…and if the premium accounts still don’t convert, and the ads seem to work, we might have to go completely free. I’d personally rather have a smaller site, no ads, and a group of loyal customers paying rather than relying on ads but unfortunately that seems to be the reality of the industry as it stands now. I haven’t given up on the premium accounts yet though – I really hope that they pan out.

      We also have other potential revenue streams that we’re exploring, like licensing out our news stream. The first part of that was releasing our “widget” http://www.lockerpulse.com/Widget/ We’re pushing that pretty hard in the forum/blogger community right now. The hope is that some will want their own customized mash-ups and that might turn into a revenue stream of some sort. If the ad platform works out like we have in mind, that might be another thing we can license out.

      • Rob says:

        Yeah, that’ll be interesting to see if you’ve managed to hook any in and on to the paid account.

        One arena where people do seem to be more comfortable paying for software is cellphone apps – can’t remember what the situation was with the LP app – is it free, or paid for, or inclusive in the premium account?

        I think you’re way ahead of the game by even considering revenue models and not just sticking your head in the sand saying “lalalalalalalala it’ll work out with volume or someone will buy us….

        • Adam McFarland says:

          We don’t technically have an “app”. Our mobile site functions like the regular site (some stuff for free, everything if you’re a subscriber). In a lot of ways we’d probably have a much higher chance of getting paying customers if we were just creating apps, but we’re web developers and not app developers. Not to say that I don’t want to learn or that I won’t, but with limited resources I think we’ll focus on the web for now…and then eventually either learn or outsource the apps.

          Your “lalala” comment actually made me laugh out loud 🙂 It’s still early on so we’re not panicking but we’re not shutting any doors either. I think we’ll know a lot more in 6 months. I believe we’re building something of value. As long as we keep doing that I think the demand will continue to grow and we’ll find the right balance of revenue streams. We get a lot of great feedback almost daily from people who are just discovering the site and love it…that’s the stuff that keeps you going early on, we know we’re on the right track.

  8. […] surprisingly well, while the Premium Accounts have tailed off after a promising start. Being featured in the Chrome Web App store gave us an additional wave of data and feedback to help make the decision easier. We anticipate […]

  9. […] While Google has a huge horse in the race with Android, they seem to be taking a much bigger risk with Chrome OS, their cloud operating system, and Chromebooks, the computers that will run Chrome OS. I’m about as high as one could be on a browser-only operating system. For one, I’m a web developer so I’d love to see the world running exclusively on web apps. I’ve also been using Chrome OS almost daily with the CR-48 test computer I received for having LockerPulse featured in the Chrome Web App store. […]

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