We already knew that Google had big plans for its Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). These have been seen in Chrome since earlier this year, and more of them are becoming available all the time. We’ve also long since known that Google would drop Chrome web apps from Linux, Mac and Windows.
What has also now been made apparent is that Google is planning to replace Chrome Apps with PWAs on desktop systems. In a message Google recently sent to developers (via Android Police), Google said that it was now working to bring Progressive Web Apps to desktop and that it was targetting a launch date of mid-2018. The company also stated:
In order to enable a more seamless transition from Chrome Apps to the web, Chrome will not fully remove support for Chrome Apps on Windows, Mac or Linux until after Desktop PWA installability becomes available in 2018. Timelines are still rough, but this will be a number of months later than the originally planned deprecation timeline of “early 2018.”
What’s more, Google confirmed that its PWA’s wouldn’t be able to offer the full range of capabilities that Chrome Apps can, but said it was “investigating” ways to make the transition easier for developers whose apps are reliant on the pre-existing Chrome APIs.
Still, it’s a move that makes a lot of sense. Google sees PWAs as the future, thanks to their superior offline capabilities, efficiency, and uniformity across platforms, but they’re functionally similar to Chrome Apps, which are somewhat unintuitive by comparison. For more information on PWAs, you can visit the dedicated Google developers page here.