Google is Scrapping Chrome Apps: Bad News for Chrome Web App Developers
Posted: Aug 22, 2016
Google recently announced that it will remove special apps inside Chrome browsers running on Windows, Mac and Linux by early 2018. The company launched these apps three year back, in 2013. These apps were introduced as a medium to provide new functions that were not otherwise available on the web app. Chrome browser apps were one way developers can write a single app that would support all operating systems like Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS.
These apps had two types: Hosted Apps and Packaged Apps. Hosted apps are fundamentally installable web apps while Packaged apps are like traditional apps; similar to those ones which you can find in Google Play Store or iOS App Store.
The termination gives mobile app developers with a one and half year of time to figure out how they can move their apps away from the Chrome browser.
It’s no big deal for Hosted Apps as their functions reside generally on the web. Users will be able to continue to use these through the web. But app developers will need to build something different for Packaged Apps. Google suggested how this migration can be made. It’s a quartet of alternatives that include web apps, extensions, extension-enhanced web pages and native apps. For last one, the recommendation is to take advantage of technologies like Electron or NW.js which can be used to convert app running on desktop operating systems.
The reason given by Google for this decision is simple: Things being provided through Chrome apps are now available on websites and, only 1 percent of users on Windows, Mac and Linux use Chrome apps.
It’s not a sudden shutdown. It will take place gradually and web app developers still have nearly a year and half for the migration. The process will begin later this year when new Chrome apps will be available on Chrome OS while the existing ones will be available on all platforms. Then, in the second half of 2017, Chrome Web Store will stop showing Chrome apps on respective platforms. And in early 2018, the Chrome apps will no longer function on Windows, Mac and Linux.
This termination may cause web app developers to lose interest in building for Chrome OS but, as Google announced a few months ago, Chrome OS powered devices will also run Android apps. This may help them still keep up with the company.
Let’s see what future unfolds because we are still not sure how these changes affect the work of web app developers who have built apps for Chrome and published them on Google Chrome Web Store.
James Stewart is a well known writer and he has written many article on various topics.He collects information about the topics concerned and writes about them.