Chrome Apps, Google's first attempt at creating a native application ecosystem for their Google Chrome browser, is now being phased out in favour of the alternative open web development API, the Progressive Web App standard. This change, originally announced in 2016, originally came in the wake of poor usage statistics and the exploitation of the standard for malware. Now, 2 years on from the original announcement, Google sent the following email to developers:
"The Chrome team is now working to enable Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) to be installed on the desktop. Once this functionality ships (roughly targeting mid-2018), users will be able to install web apps to the desktop and launch them via icons and shortcuts; similar to the way that Chrome Apps can be installed today.
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".
We also recognize that Desktop PWAs will not replace all Chrome App capabilities. We have been investigating ways to simplify the transition for developers that depend on exclusive Chrome App APIs, and will continue to focus on this – in particular the Sockets, HID and Serial APIs."
While this may be sad news for fans of the platform, you'll be happy to hear that its successor, the Progressive Web App, has a lot more going for it. As an open platform, it's supported by more developers and platforms such as Instagram, and many more to come over the course of the next few months. Furthermore, it works on Firefox too, and who doesn't love universality?
What do you guys think? Are you excited, or sad to see the death of the Chrome App? Let us know in the comments, or post over on the forums with your thoughts.