In August last year, Google announced that it would be shutting down the Apps section on the Chrome Web Store. In a blog post, Google explained that the move was part of its removal process for Chrome Apps, which not a lot of people download.
Google Shuts Down Apps Section On Chrome Web Store
Google has now followed through with that promise: Chrome users are now barred from accessing the Apps section and installing apps from the Chrome Web Store. Also, by early 2018, installed Chrome Apps will stop functioning on PC and Mac. Chrome OS, however, will still be able to access them for an unspecified period.
Calm down, Chrome users, as this merely concerns apps. Extensions and themes will remain available to download from the Chrome Web Store.
But with Chrome Apps gone, Google hopes to replace them with a better alternative. As Ars Technica reports, Google has begun pushing developers to create Progressive Web Apps instead, or PWAs. This appears to be similar to Chrome Apps, which aim to bring app-like features to websites.
They'll come with an installable app icon, push notifications, and even offline capabilities. These are already a thing on Chrome for Android, so once Google finishes the implementation, PWAs will most certainly be the only type of app to work on both mobile and PC.
The great thing about PWAs is that they aren't exclusive and specific to Chrome. As a result, they are able to run on Samsung phones via the Samsung browser, and Android versions of Firefox and Opera. Shutting down Chrome Apps is unfortunate, but it is easy to see the logic behind replacing them with PWAs. It'll help both Google and developers create apps that work on different platforms at the same time.
PWAs will launch somewhere in mid-2018, according to Google, but that's just a target rather than a promise. Also, there's still no word on how long Chrome OS users will be able to access and install Chrome Apps.
Chrome Apps Are Still Available To Download
Though Google has completely shuttered the Apps section on Chrome Web Store, installing them is still possible. Simply get a direct link to a specific Chrome app to do this. However, all Apps have now been listed as extensions, so that might be a little confusing.
Do you think Google shouldn't have removed Chrome Apps? What do you think about their replacement, PWAs? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!