Google is killing Chrome apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux

Google Chrome logoChrome OS has become a low-key success story for Google in the last few years. Because they're relatively cheap and easy to track and manage, Chromebooks has made inroads in businesses and educational institutions. But Chrome OS still has a big shortcoming compared to Windows and macOS: an app gap.

To help close that gap and augment Web apps, Google introduced the Chrome apps platform to let developers make Web apps that looked and functioned more like traditional standalone apps. Part of Google's sales pitch was that Chrome apps were universal—without any additional effort from developers, these apps would run not just on Chrome OS, but also any Windows, Mac, or Linux PC with Chrome installed.

The Chrome apps platform was an interesting experiment, but it has apparently failed. In a blog post today, Google said that "approximately 1 percent" of all Chrome users on Windows, Mac, and Linux were using Chrome apps. Arguing that Web standards have continued to evolve and become more capable and that the company is simplifying Chrome, Google says that support for Chrome apps on non-Chrome OS platforms will be phased out over the next two years. Extensions and themes will remain available on all platforms.

Google is killing Chrome apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux

Later this year, any new Chrome apps that are published will only be available to Chrome OS users, though existing apps can continue to be updated. "In the second half of 2017," Windows, Mac, and Linux users won't be able to see Chrome apps in the Chrome Web Store. And "in early 2018," non-Chrome OS platforms will lose the ability to load Chrome apps altogether.

The company says that Chrome apps will remain supported and maintained on Chrome OS "for the foreseeable future." Google will even continue to work on and improve the Chrome apps platform for Chrome OS devices. But given that Android apps are coming to Chrome OS and that Chrome apps are being killed on every other platform, their future doesn't look bright.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Chrome, Google

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