Android users can readily add shortcuts of web apps from Google Chrome to their phone's home screens. However, these web apps do not show up in an Android device the way installed native apps do.
This will change in the coming weeks with the launch of Google's "Progressive Web Apps," wherein web apps will be more integrated into Android than ever before.
Instead of having to download them from Google Play Store, this feature will allow web apps to launch straight into your Android device. The goal is to allow Android users to discover new apps without having to go through the process of downloading them.
This feature can also prove to be popular for those people who want to check their Facebook or Twitter accounts from time to time but don't want to install the native apps on their phones.
To achieve this feat, Google will be using "service workers" to cache key assets on a user's device so that a web app can load faster, even if network strength is poor. The web app will also feel more like a natural app on the device, with an immersive user experience.
Why The Need For Progressive Web Apps?
Android users will get a lot of benefit out of Google Chrome's new feature. The Chrome browser will automatically prompt a user to add a web app in a phone's home screen for easy accessibility, using its "Add to Home Screen" option.
Currently, web apps run directly on webpages. But with this change about to take place, Android users can now place shortcuts of the web apps they frequently visit both on their home screen and app drawer. These apps will then run as if they have been installed directly on a phone's internal memory, just like native apps do.
Another advantage to this is that a user will have more control of a web app's notifications with Android's settings, instead of using Chrome settings. In a blog post, Google says that long presses on the notifications for the web apps will reveal the "normal Android notification management controls rather than the notification management controls for Chrome."
Lastly, this function eliminates the need for users to visit and download through app stores, and will make web apps easier to get on one's phone. Once installed, a web app can launch independently of the browser, and will work even without an Internet connection.
You Can Test New Function Ahead Of Everybody
With the launching of Progressive Web Apps, Google hopes to "empower developers to build the best possible experience for their users." This will be rolling out in the next couple of weeks, starting with the beta version of Chrome 57.
But if you want to test out the feature right away, Android Police says you can do this by installing Chrome Canary from the Play Store. Navigate to chrome://flags, search for #enable-improved-a2hs, and click on "Enable" button. Restart the browser then try adding one of your web apps to your home screen to see if it works.