Chrome Apps preceded Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) as Google’s original vision for mimicking the capabilities of native applications through browsers. The legacy technology is on its way out, but Google has decided to extend the availability of Chrome Apps on Chrome OS. 

At the start of 2020, Google set the final timeline for killing and replacing Chrome Apps built with HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. They were supposed to stop working in Chrome for Mac, Windows, and Linux for consumers in June of 2020, but that was eventually extended by a year.

Meanwhile, the original Apps deprecation on Chrome OS was supposed to be June 2022. That has now been pushed back to “at least January 2025” for Enterprise and Education customers given partner feedback. 

In announcing this lengthy extension, Google heavily encouraged developers to migrate Chrome Apps to PWAs “as soon as possible.” The company has already done so for its first-party services with mobile availability being another upside.

PWAs are built and enhanced with modern APIs to deliver enhanced capabilities, reliability, and installability while reaching anyone, anywhere, on any device with a single codebase. 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.

This extension comes as some organizations are heavily reliant on the Chrome Apps they built out years earlier. The final deprecation will allow Google to remove the old NaCl, PNaCl, and PPAPI APIs from Chrome.

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Abner Li

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