Google has announced the launch of its browser-based Chrome Web Store at a media event in San Francisco this evening.

The store, which will appear on the Google Chrome browser, and will be a huge part of the new Chrome OS. It'll feature a host of news, gaming and media apps we're used to seeing on platforms like the Apple iPad and modern smartphones.

Chrome.google.com/webstore launches today with 500 apps already available to download, with many free, paid for and subscription apps up for grabs. Most apps can be used online and offline.

Headline new apps include the impressive NY Times for Chrome, which allows users to browse headlines, photography, and multimedia, while also receiving breaking news updates.

Amazon fully on board

Amazon also used the event to announce Kindle for the Web, a HTML5 application which will allow ebook fans to read downloaded titles in full, in their web browser. It'll be available early on Chrome in 2011.

Amazon Windowshop, which has been a revelation on the Apple iPad by really overhauling the way shoppers browse for products, also comes to the Chrome Web Store today.

Others impressive apps on show include the NPR news reader which runs media in the background, the Sports Illustrated photography app called SI snapshot, and subscription games like CloudCanvas.

The Web Store is an integral part of the newly launched Google Chrome OS, which brings key applications to the cloud rather than storing them locally on your hard-drive.