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Google removes Chrome Apps from Web Store, pushes to PWAs

08 December 2017
Google removes Chrome Apps from Web Store, pushes to PWAs

As the web giant focuses on extensions and web apps, Chrome Apps are no longer available to download on the Chrome Web Store. Chrome Remote Desktop has been a handy tool over the past few years and now, it's being brought to the web for easier access.

In the context of the Chrome Browser, web apps were only ever really glorified web links for the most part, and in an attempt to try and add value, it is limiting their use to Chrome OS.

In a change from the original plan, Google won't immediately remove Chrome Apps support on Windows, Mac, and Linux by Q1 2018.

First spotted by the folks at Chrome Story, Google has opened (earlier than expected) a dedicated portal for Chrome Remote Desktop.

The blog post reads: "Chrome Apps will be removed from Chrome Web Store search & browse functions in mid-December 2017". "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". Chromebooks are already capable of running some Android apps and apps on the Chrome browser would seem redundant.

The Chrome browser will continue to load packaged and hosted apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux beyond the previously announced deprecation timeline. Google hasn't announced anything yet for Chrome OS, but it's likely that Chrome apps might go away, too.

"We also recognize that Desktop PWAs will not replace all Chrome App capabilities", Google told developers (via ArsTechnica). An example of a PWA is a website that can display webpages in fullscreen.

Just like with the app, this new web portal has support for accessing a remote device as well as giving remote access to your device. PWAs aren't exactly a "standard" but are a catch-all phrase for a combination of existing W3C standards like a Web app manifest for app icons and service workers for push notifications and background updates. Google is reportedly estimating a mid-2018 release for PWA on desktop.