A while back Google announced that it would kill off apps for its Chrome browser. In the time since, we’ve seen some apps convert to extensions, but no steps were taken to get rid of apps entirely. That is, until today, as Google has just plunged a dagger into what was Chrome apps.
If you’ll recall, Google announced about a year ago that Chrome on Windows, Mac, and Linux would lose Chrome apps, but those apps would still work with Chrome OS. Now, as first spotted by Ars Technica, Google has completely removed the Chrome apps section from the Chrome Web Store.
On the Chrome browser on Windows, Linux, and Mac, the apps section, as well as the games section, no longer appear. Both are still available on Chrome OS devices, though. As Google previously mentioned, apps are being removed from the browser basically because nobody uses them.
As we continue our efforts to simplify Chrome, we believe it’s time to begin the evolution away from the Chrome apps platform. There are two types of Chrome apps: packaged apps and hosted apps. Today, approximately 1% of users on Windows, Mac and Linux actively use Chrome packaged apps, and most hosted apps are already implemented as regular web apps.
Obviously, Chrome extensions are sticking around for the foreseeable future, but apps are deprecated as of today. Google is sending emails to developers notifying them of that change, and the company will be removing app functionality from Chrome entirely during Q1 of 2018, (except for on Chrome OS).
Google is adding a new kind of app to Chrome, though — Progressive Web Apps. We’ve already seen this being beta tested in previous versions of Chrome. PWAs actually work in Chrome on Android right now, and they’re also available in other browsers too.
In short, PWAs give websites app-like features, an “app icon,” and things like push notifications and offline capabilities. Ars reports that Google is targeting mid-2018 for PWAs to start working with Chrome on the desktop.