Windows 10 users: Chrome 70 means you don't need Edge, Microsoft Store to run PWAs

Chrome 70 opens up progressive web apps to Windows 10 users who don't want to use Edge or Microsoft Store.

Google's Chrome 70 was released on Tuesday and with it comes support for desktop progressive web apps (PWAs) on Windows 10 that look and behave like normal desktop apps.

Websites like Twitter and Spotify that support PWAs can now launch on Windows 10 without the usual address bar, tabs, and navigation buttons, offering a more native app experience.

Chrome has supported desktop PWAs since Chrome 67 on Chrome OS, but Chrome 70's support for Windows 10 significantly expands the potential use of PWAs given that Chrome is far more widely used on Windows than Microsoft Edge.

In the Spotify example that Google uses in its demo, users simply open the Spotify website and they'll see a menu drop down from the address bar containing a prompt to 'install' the app. Only PWAs that meet Chrome's criteria will automatically prompt the user to install the app.

After installing the PWA, Chrome features vanish, leaving what appears to be a native app. And after closing the app window, the app can be relaunched via the Spotify PWA icon on the Windows home screen. Chrome also adds the PWA to the Windows Start Menu.

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Microsoft for its part added PWA support to Windows 10 in the April 2018 Update. However, its focus has been on populating the Microsoft Store with PWAs, from where Edge users could search and install them.

As noted by Neowin in May, Edge on version 1809 is able to install PWAs from the web too, meaning the Gmail PWA, which isn't on the Microsoft Store, can be used as a PWA on Windows.

However, now that Chrome support for PWAs means that users on version 1803 and below can take advantage of more native web apps by installing Chrome 70.

Google will extend desktop PWA support to Mac and Linux in Chrome 72. It's also looking to give PWA developers the ability to add their own keyboard short cuts, badging for the launch icon, and ensuring that links clicked in the PWA open the PWA itself.

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