First communicated last August, Google set in motion a timeline for its plans to kill off traditional Chrome Apps on Chrome OS. Now, it’s amending that timeline based on Enterprise customer feedback and extending the deadline by at least three years.
Originally, general support for Chrome Apps for Google’s laptop operating system was supposed to end in June of 2022. However, as Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) aren’t yet where the company or its customers want them to be as far as feature parity is concerned, the original packaged apps found in the Chrome Web Store will remain the go-to solution for many users for the next three years or longer.
PWAs are built and enhanced with modern APIs to deliver enhanced capabilities, reliability, and installability while reaching anyone, anywhere, on any device with a single codebase. There is a growing ecosystem of powerful desktop web apps & PWAs, from advanced graphics products like Adobe Spark to engaging media apps like YouTube TV to productivity and collaboration apps like Zoom.
You can learn more about switching your organization to PWAs by visiting the ChromeOS.dev portal. To clarify, “Chrome Apps” are not the same thing as “Chromebook Apps” as you’ve heard them called. The latter are technically considered “Android Apps” since they’re delivered via the Google Play Store. The former are what’s left over of a past attempt to bring traditionally packaged and locally installed apps to the browser. When that didn’t work quite as well as Google had hoped, it began investing in web applications – apps that run directly in the browser. Today, this effort stands alongside the Android Apps that are baked directly into Chromebooks.
“Chrome Apps” are likely of little concern to the average bear. Most of you have probably already been asked strongly or forced by Google and others to replace these with web app alternatives. A few examples of the company’s own PWA replacements for these apps include Chrome Remote Desktop, Google Keep, News, Photos, Maps, the Chromebook Recovery Utility, and more.
As we near January 2025, the date when Google is set to reevaluate its decision to wipe these old school apps out entirely, we’ll hear whether or not it follows through on the second attempt. Three years ought to be plenty of time to pad out whatever is lacking in progressive web apps and make them viable alternatives for small businesses, large companies, and individuals alike. Let us know in the comments if you’re still using any Chrome Apps with your team or if you’ve moved on!