Today, Google has announced that it has made available a developer preview of the store. Developers can now upload apps and experiment with packaging, and installing them, and integrating payments into them.
"When the Chrome Web Store launches, it will replace the current gallery, featuring a completely new design for users to discover great apps, extensions and themes all in one place," Google software engineer Michael Noth tells developers. "Until then, only you can see the apps you upload - they will not be visible to other visitors of the gallery during this developer preview. In the meantime, you can continue to use the gallery for publishing Chrome extensions and making them available to Chrome users."
Apps in the Chrome web store will be web apps that aren't Chrome-specific. They will be available to anyone using "a modern browser" that supports the technologies used to build the apps.
The store will feature installable apps, so users can create shortcuts for accessing them and the apps can request advanced HTML5 permissions.