Google's Chrome Web Store off to slow start

With only a couple of exceptions, sales of paid applications modest at best

It appears business is slow over at Google's Chrome Web Store, which was launched early last month to allow Chrome users to download free or (preferably) paid web apps. (Also see: 5 great free business apps for Google Chrome)

According to TechCrunch's Jason Kincaid, a look at the most popular paid applications (shown to the right of the Chrome Web Store home page) shows that few customers are buying apps. (The store uses Google Checkout, which allows users to pay through their Google accounts.) By far the most popular paid application (this is based on downloads over the past week) is Onslaught! Arena, a medieval war game that has had 1,294 installs this week at $4.99 per download. With a total of 4,974 users, that's a gross of nearly $25,000 for developer Lost Decade Games (minus about $2,600 in Google transaction fees) since the Chrome store launched in December. Not a bad revenue stream if it keeps up. From there, though, there's a big drop-off. The No. 2 paid application is Scrabble-like crossword game Wordico, which has had 402 downloads this week and a total of 1,457 users. At $2.99 for the app, that's a gross of $4,356. No. 3 is BrainPOP Featured Movie from educational content/quiz producer brainpop.com -- 49 weekly installs, 535 users, $1,065 gross. One more, and only because it's kinda sad: The fifth most-popular paid application at the Chrome store is Real Solitaire, with 406 users paying $1.99 each for that solipsistic cards classic. Most of the other 11 applications listed by the Chrome store as among the "top paid" have less than 100 downloads. Some TechCrunch readers attribute the poor initial response to lame apps, while others say it's way too early to declare the Chrome store a success or failure. On the other hand, this is Google we're talking about here. I have to imagine they're disappointed with the slow start for the Chrome apps store.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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