Google announced today that it will discontinue Chrome apps on all desktop operating system systems, but keep supporting them on Chrome OS.
Google Chrome supports web browser extensions and so-called Chrome apps. Google launched Chrome apps three years ago to deliver experiences the Web could not provide.
Chrome Apps for the most part started out as simple bookmarks that would bring users to web services. The apps evolved later on and some made use of functionality such as offline access or other features eventually.
Web standards evolved since the introduction of Chrome apps support in Chrome and Chrome OS, with web technologies becoming more powerful in the process.
Google looked at Chrome apps, and how many users of Chrome on Windows, Mac and Linux were used packaged apps actively. According to Google, about 1% of desktop Chrome users make use of Chrome packaged apps.
Taking this and the improvements in web standards into account, the company made the decision to retire packaged and hosted apps from all desktop Chrome versions over the next two years.
Today, approximately 1% of users on Windows, Mac and Linux actively use Chrome packaged apps, and most hosted apps are already implemented as regular web apps. We will be removing support for packaged and hosted apps from Chrome on Windows, Mac, and Linux over the next two years
Chrome apps will remain supported on Chrome OS however for the "foreseeable future". Google did not go into details, and it is unclear for how long Chrome OS will keep on supporting these apps.
All types of Chrome apps will remain supported and maintained on Chrome OS for the foreseeable future. Additional enhancements to the Chrome apps platform will apply only to Chrome OS devices, including kiosks. Developers can continue to build Chrome apps (or Android apps) for Chrome OS.
The following schedule is used to retire Chrome apps for all desktop platforms:
Google encourages developers to migrate Chrome apps to the Web. The company suggests that developers who cannot migrate their apps to the web fully help Google prioritize new APIs to "fill the gaps left by Chrome apps".
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