Google announced that it will be gradually phasing out support for Chrome apps on Windows, Mac and Linux, eventually only supporting the apps on the Chrome OS.
According to Google, there are two types of Chrome apps, namely hosted apps and packaged apps. Hosted apps are currently implemented as regular web apps, which makes them accessible to all users with an internet connection. Google has found, on the other hand, that only about 1 percent of Windows, Mac and Linux users actively use packaged Chrome apps.
With this information, Google revealed through a blog post that it will now begin to remove support for hosted and packaged Chrome apps for Windows, Mac and Linux over the next couple of years.
The Chrome apps, however, will remain supported by Chrome OS for the foreseeable future, with upcoming enhancements to Chrome apps only to apply to Chrome OS devices and developers only now allowed to build Chrome apps for Chrome OS.
Beginning late this year, new Chrome apps can only be accessed by Chrome OS users. All current Chrome apps, however, will remain accessible on all platforms, with developers allowed to release updates for them.
By next year's second half, there will be no more Chrome apps for Windows, Mac and Linux on the Chrome Web Store, and by early 2018, users with computers on these operating systems will no longer be able to use Chrome apps.
This gives time for users to find alternatives, and for developers to build out the affected apps into standard web apps.
Chrome OS has been a success for Google, as because of the low price of the computers using the operating system and its relative ease to manage, Chromebooks have been increasing their presence in corporate and educational settings. However, Chrome OS does not have as many apps compared to the massive app libraries of Windows and Mac.
As a solution, Google released Chrome apps, which allowed developers to create web apps that functioned similarly to traditional standalone apps. The selling point was that these Chrome apps were universal, and did not require any extra effort from developers to make them compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux computers as users on these platforms can access the apps through the Chrome browser.
The experiment was an interesting one, to say the least, but it has apparently failed. In addition to ending support for Windows, Mac and Linux users due to very low adoption figures, the fact that Android apps will soon be coming to Chrome OS paints a bleak forecast for Chrome apps.