Google to shut down Chrome Apps next year


Following up on their proposal to remove Chrome Apps, Google announced that the “app” section of the Chrome browser will be shut down on all platforms i.e. Linux, Windows and Mac. Existing apps are stated to function without interruption, but the ability to install new apps will be removed. The move is likely because less than 1 percent of Chrome users were actually found to be using the apps. The App section, however, will still remain a part of ChromeOS. Google is encouraging app developers to migrate their apps to web extensions.

Chrome apps can be categorised into two types: packaged apps and hosted apps. Packaged apps are limited in functionality and offer little in the way of interacting with hardware and performing complex tasks. Packaged apps often do not require an internet connection and are integrated with the browser offline. Hosted apps, as the name indicates, are hosted on a web server and offer a lot more functionality such as accessing USB ports. Both types of apps were desktop-only and now will exist exclusively on ChromeOS. It is unclear how long the apps will be supported for ChromeOS, but we expect it to stay as they are more integral to the browsing experience in ChromeOS than on other platforms.

In a bid to replace apps, Google has introduced the concept of a new type app; the Progressive Web App (PWA). PWAs aim to bring app-like functionalities such as a full-screen interface, an installable icon, push notifications, and automatic updates. Google is expected to roll out PWAs by mid-2018. PWAs have already been rolled out on Chrome for Android, while other platforms are set to be supported soon. Do you use any Chrome Apps on your computer? Let us know your thoughts on Google’s decision.