Google's senior product manager for the Chrome Web Store has told TechRadar that he does not believe that web apps will become an excuse for companies to put free web content behind a paywall.

Rahul Roy-Chowdhury insisted that Google's purpose is not to dictate business models, but that the web should not be penalised in terms of asking for payment for functionality.

When TechRadar asked if Roy-Chowdhury felt that an increasingly successful web app world could see people move previously cost-free web content behind an app pay-wall he answered in the negative.

"I don't think so," he said. "I don't see our role as being an arbiter of other people's business models.

Dealer's choice

"We want the web to keep very open, but we want the developers to figure out and find the optimum model, whether that is a free trial with a paid upgrade, in-app payments or whether people are fine with paying up front," he added

"I think it needs to be a level playing field. If you go for a paid app model and it delivers successfully on other platforms then it should be possible to use [the same model] on the web.

"The web should not be at a disadvantage."

Blurring lines

Given the changing role of the browser and the power that HTML5 will bring to websites, Chowdhury is aware that the line between web app and website is blurring.

"I think it's a case of knowing it when you see it," he stated.

"I would say that at the moment it is a fully featured application that keeps people immersed in a task.

"I would say that offline access is a key attribute and one of the tests I use personally is to see if the application can be launched in full screen."