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I think that one of the big advantages to building it into chrome is that you get better window management capabilities. OS X is utterly horrible at managing windows without using the mouse, having everything built into the same app often gives more control.

Web driver approaches would work much better if there were sane ways to control where the new window pops up. Even on Linux with X Monad or stumpwm, the communication/protocol for the location of new windows popping up is difficult to impossible.

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