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Google removes Chrome Apps from Web Store, pushes to PWAs

07 December 2017

Google had announced back in August 2016 that it would end Chrome apps across Windows, Mac and Linux platforms citing the reason that less than 1 percent of users were using them. Well, almost a year-and-half later Google has completed the job and now, Chrome browser will not be able to access or install any apps from the store.

Google has shut down the "Apps" section of the Chrome Web Store as it pushes for Progressive Web Apps. According to the company's blog post, it was the initial step in the process to shut down the Chrome Apps section as nobody wants to download apps through their browsers [Chrome] anymore. By early 2018, Chrome apps will be rendered unusable and instead be replaced by recently-launched Progressive Web Apps (PWA) that rolled out on Android in February this year. "We will be removing support for packaged and hosted apps from Chrome on Windows, Mac, and Linux over the next two years".

If it sounds complicated, you can check out the Google Support documentation which takes you through setting up and using Chrome Remote Desktop on your Windows, Mac or Linux PC or Chromebook. This extension enables you to install, view, and modify the Chrome Remote Desktop native client from the web UI. The major difference between chrome web apps and PWAs are the Progressive web apps are cross-platform and cross-browser, while the Chrome apps are limited to Google's browser. The tech company has started sending emails to Chrome app developers about the shutdown. Another example of a PWA website is one where it can be "installed" and added to the user's home screen.

PWAs already work on the Chrome app for Android devices. Google expects that PWAs will be available on desktops come mid-2018. This is the plug-in point for password managers, script and ad blockers, mail checkers, and even the occasional fully fledged app, like Google Hangouts for Chrome.

Google removes Chrome Apps from Web Store, pushes to PWAs