Chrome apps, not to be confused with Chrome browser extensions, were Google’s idea of delivering browser-based apps that installed inside Chrome and looked and functioned like regular desktop apps.
Chrome apps never took off thanks to the evolution of web standards and platforms such as progressive web apps (PWA), which rendered Chrome apps obsolete.
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However, Chrome apps seem to have found their stride with Chrome OS’ Enterprise and Education customers, because of whom Google has been forced to delay the retirement process for several more years.
“Based on feedback from our Enterprise and Education customers and partners, we have made the decision to extend Chrome app support for those users on Chrome OS until at least January 2025,” notes Google.
Prolonging the inevitable
Google first announced its decision to terminate Chrome apps for Windows, Linux and macOS back in 2016. Back then it admitted that the combined user base of Chrome apps on these platforms was about 1%.
Since then, the evolution of web standards and development of powerful new and open APIs have enabled developers to build robust PWAs that work seamlessly across platforms and browsers, validating Google’s decision to pull the plug on Chrome apps.
Even as it extends the timeline for select customers to run Chrome apps on Chrome OS, Google asserts that PWAs are the way of the future.
“There is a growing ecosystem of powerful desktop web apps & PWAs, from advanced graphics products like Adobe Spark to engaging media apps like YouTube TV to productivity and collaboration apps like Zoom,” said Google, further encouraging Chrome app developers to migrate to PWAs “as soon as possible.”
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