Attendees of Google’s I/O conference in San Francisco were treated to an early look at Chrome’s new web app store, with the Sports Illustrated interactive magazine app taking center stage. Engadget’s coverage of the event revealed that the app store will also distribute games. Lots of them!

In addition to the terrific Plants vs. Zombies, the app store’s toy chest includes all the stuff you’d expect to see, like Scrabble, Bejeweled, Poker, and Lego Star Wars. So what’s the big deal? Digital distribution isn’t new, and these games are available pretty much everywhere. There’s probably a toaster oven on display at Sears that can play Plants vs. Zombies.

Here’s where Google’s apps diverge from the browser-based games we’re all familiar with: using new features in HTML5, Google’s web software will integrate with your operating system, making these tools (and games) look and feel more like desktop applications. The early benefit of installing web apps is an enhanced user experience – check out the Sports Illustrated demo – but this might lead to better things down the road. With hardware-accelerated browsers becoming the norm soon, don’t be too surprised when you’re running Crysis from a Chrome tab in the coming months.

Well, maybe not. But someday! The app store hits Chrome and the Chrome OS “soon.”