Google said Friday that it will no longer support Chrome apps on Linux, Mac, and Windows platforms starting 2018. The change which won’t affect apps embedded in Chrome OS will be replaced by web apps on the said operating systems.
Chrome extensions will not be impacted either, the company said. However, Chrome app users of non-Chrome OS systems should expect a 2-year-long phase out period.
Chrome apps currently come in two shapes and sizes: the so-called ‘hosted apps’ which were first launched six years ago and the ‘Chrome packaged apps,’ which entered the scene three years ago.
The decision to discontinue the apps was taken long before this week. Google had killed off the notification center in Chrome and the app launcher in the Chrome browser for Windows late last year.
These moves have just made users’ access to the apps a lot harder, but the company now plans to be more straightforward and phase out the apps themselves.
Google said that by the end of the year, new Chrome apps will no longer feature Windows, Mac and Linux versions in the Chrome Web Store. The apps will be only compatible with Chrome OS. Older Chrome apps will see no changes and makers can still issue updates.
In mid-2017, older Chrome apps (that work with Windows, Linux, and Mac) will no longer appear in the Chrome Web Store.
In the first months of 2018, the apps will no longer function on the three operating systems.
In the meantime, the company plans to revamp its Chrome Web Store to make Chrome extensions and themes more visible to users.
One may wonder why would Google terminate the apps. The company’s experts pinpoint at least two reasons. First, there are tons of web apps that can do just the same thing Chrome apps do with less hassle.
When asked why it hasn’t took the decision sooner, Google replied that it was premature to kill off Chrome apps when there weren’t enough web apps to take over their functions
Second, users have long lost interest in Chrome packaged apps. According to a Google report, just 1 percent of Mac, Linux, and Windows users actively use the apps.
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