Google Will Shut Down Chrome Apps On Windows, Mac And Linux In Early 2018

Google’s current aim is to simplify Chrome as much as possible. This means removing support for Chrome apps on all platforms except Chrome OS. Chrome apps were originally launched three years ago to offer services the Web was unable to provide. This included working offline, sending notifications, and connecting directly to hardware. 

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There are currently two types of Chrome apps -- “packaged” and “hosted”. A hosted app works on all browsers as long as it uses features that are supported by Google. A packaged app only functions on Chrome, however, its code can be used for regular web apps. Only 1% of users on Windows, Mac, and Linux actually use packaged Chrome apps, while most most hosted apps are already implemented as regular web apps. Both apps will be removed over the next two years.

By the end of 2017, the Chrome Web Store will no longer be available on Windows, Linux, or Mac. By 2018, you will no longer be able to load Chrome apps. Google encourages developers to migrate their Chrome apps to the web. If they are unable to do so, they can help Google prioritize new API’s to fill the gaps.

To take the place of Chrome apps, Google is pushing the use of APIs like service worker and web push in an effort to bolster Progressive Web Apps. Progressive Web Apps work across all major web browsers and will only become more powerful as developers embrace the standard.

“As the capabilities of the web continue to grow, we're excited to see what developers build next,” writes Google’s Rahul Roy-Chowdhury. “Alongside other browser vendors, we remain committed to investment in the web and enabling users and developers to benefit from its openness and reach.”