Google is delivering on its promise to get rid of Chrome Apps on Windows, Mac and Linux. The search giant has announced that it is shutting down the Chrome Web Store section in order to push Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) that can be installed on the desktop.
Google says it plans to ship the PWAs functionality in mid-2018 and will allow users to install web apps to the desktop and launch them through icons and shortcuts. Google already supports PWAs on Chrome for Android and is simply extending the functionality to desktop and deliver the feel of a native app.
Google first revealed its plan to phase out Chrome Apps in favour of Progressive Web Apps in 2016. Back then, Google said that Chrome Apps are being deprecated because no one uses them. The Chrome Apps have now disappeared from the Web Store but they can still be download from direct link.
Ars Technica further reports that Google will not drop support for Chrome Apps entirely until Progressive Web Apps become available on desktop in 2018. Google informed Chrome app developers via email that Chrome Apps are being killed and will be completely phased out by mid-2018. However, there is no word on whether it will remove Chrome Apps from Chrome OS as well.
Progressive Web Apps allow developers to integrate features like push notifications and background updates. Apart from Chrome, it is also supported by Samsung’s browser for its phones, Firefox on Android and Opera on Android. Even Microsoft is bringing PWAs to Windows 10 while Apple has also started supporting PWA on Safari.
With the continued availability via direct link and on Chrome OS, it is not clear whether Google really intends to abandon the platform. Most Chrome apps are now bring repackaged and offered in the form of extensions on Chrome Web Store.