Google Makes Changes to the Chrome App Ecosystem

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 23, 2016

Google is making some sweeping changes in the way Chrome, Chrome OS and Android handle apps and applications. The company has announced that it is moving away from the app platform on its Chrome browser for all platforms aside from Chromebooks. Beginning in late 2016, you will require a Chromebook to be able to download new Chrome apps, although existing apps will be usable and developers can still release updates.

Meanwhile, many Chrome OS users are beginning to use Android apps on the platform. Android apps arrived on Chromebooks in a heavy-handed way in June, but the developer channel was still buggy. Now, a new implementation has entered the beta channel with some much needed stability.

According to Google, the move to kill Chrome apps for most users is a necessity:

"For a while there were certain experiences the web couldn’t provide, such as working offline, sending notifications, and connecting to hardware. We launched Chrome apps three years ago to bridge this gap. Since then, we’ve worked with the web standards community to enable an increasing number of these use cases on the web. Developers can use powerful new APIs such as service worker and web push to build robust Progressive Web Apps that work across multiple browsers. More capabilities will continue to become available on the web. As we continue our efforts to simplify Chrome, we believe it’s time to begin the evolution away from the Chrome apps platform."

"Starting in late 2016, newly-published Chrome apps will only be available to users on Chrome OS. Existing Chrome apps will remain accessible on all platforms, and developers can continue to update them."

 On the Chrome OS front, many users will welcome running Android apps, but only certain users will get the chance. Android apps are being made available now for a few selected Chromebooks.

Ever since Google introduced Android and Chrome OS several years ago, people have wondered about mergers between them.  Our bet, though, has remained that Chrome OS isn't going anywhere, and that is the case. But many users want useful Android apps on Chrome OS.

You can read our previous coverage on running Android apps on Chrome OS here