Google removes Chrome Apps from Web Store, moves to PWAs

In lieu of Chrome Apps on the desktop, Google said it will enable Progressive Web Apps that can be installed.

Google on Wednesday made good on its promise to rid of Chrome Apps on Windows, Mac and Linux. As the web giant focuses on extensions and web apps, Chrome Apps are no longer available to download on the Chrome Web Store.

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Google told developers via email the Chrome team is working to enable Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) that can be installed on the desktop. It plans to ship the PWA functionality in mid-2018, and will allow users to install web apps to the desktop and launch them via icons and shortcuts.

Chrome for Android has already supported PWAs, and they aim to make the web feel like a native app.

The web giant revealed in 2016 that it planned to phase out Chrome Apps in 2018. While Chrome Apps have now disappeared from discovery, they can still be downloaded with a direct link. Chrome will not fully remove support for Chrome Apps on Windows, Mac or Linux until after Desktop PWA installability becomes available in 2018.

"We also recognize that Desktop PWAs will not replace all Chrome App capabilities," Google told developers (via ArsTechnica). "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."

Google hasn't detailed removing Chrome apps from Chrome OS. Chrome OS users have seemingly turned their attention to web apps and Android apps.

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