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Firefox has long offered a stand-alone, stripped down instance to run a "stand-alone" web application called Prism.

Prism is an application that lets users split web applications out of their browser and run them directly on their desktop

This is useful to run email, tasks, a bug tracker (or any other commonly used web app) in a separate window without the distraction of a navigation and bookmark bar, tabs, buttons or menus.

Chrome also offers this feature on Windows and Linux:

  • Click the wrench icon tools menu on the browser toolbar.
  • Select Tools.
  • Select Create application shortcuts.
  • In the dialog that appears, choose where you'd like the shortcuts to be placed on your computer.
  • Click Create.

It's also possible to create shortcuts for apps installed from Chrome Web Store. Judging from a quick Google search this feature has been available since ~2008, although somehow I've never noticed it!