Google's Progressive Web Apps will replace Chrome Apps next year

Google's Progressive Web Apps will replace Chrome Apps next year

Google's Progressive Web Apps will replace Chrome Apps next year

Google has started following through on their plan to kill of Chrome Apps for Windows, Mac and Linux users by shutting down (or at least hiding) the Chrome Web Store Apps section for those platforms. Google has started sending out emails to Chrome app developers telling them that Chrome Apps are deprecated, and while previously installed apps still work, the functionality will be stripped out of Chrome in Q1 2018. While Chrome Apps have now disappeared from discovery, they can still be downloaded with a direct link.

As explained in the report, there were two broad types of Chrome apps available to users.

Google told developers via email the Chrome team is working to enable Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) that can be installed on the desktop. Hosted apps were basically glorified bookmarks, which makes little sense on a real desktop OS but gave Chrome OS users a way to pin important webpages to certain parts of the UI. The more powerful Chrome Apps were "packaged apps", which could run in the background and access hardware like USB ports.

There's also Chrome Extensions, which are still desktop only and aren't going anywhere.

Now, the company has sent an email to developers with additional information about the phasing out of Chrome Apps.

Support for Progessive Web Apps is becoming more available, with Microsoft building support for PWAs into Windows 10, and Apple is similarly building support for PWAs into Safari. PWAs again aim to bring a few app-like features to websites, giving them a full-screen interface, an "installable" app icon, push notifications, and offline capabilities. Most Android browsers including Opera, Firefox and the Samsung mobile browser support PWAs, so this looks like the way forward.

At the time, Google announced that Chrome Apps are used by only 1% of Windows, Mac and Linux users.

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