Search engine giant Google has officially confirmed its plans to phase gradually out its Chrome apps for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems by 2018. In a blog post posted on Saturday, the search engine giant said that new Chrome apps would only be available exclusively on the Chrome OS starting late 2016. While the company plans to pull support for Chrome apps gradually over the next two years, though existing Chrome apps will be available for a while across platforms, along with access to developers to continually upgrade them.
“In the second half of 2017, the Chrome Web Store will no longer show Chrome apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux, but will continue to surface extensions and themes. In early 2018, users on these platforms will no longer be able to load Chrome apps,” Google said in the blog post.
According to Google, only a handful of users is actively using Chrome apps. And with the advancements of the open web standard, there’s no longer a need for Chrome apps. Google further explained that there are two kinds of Chrome apps – packaged and hosted apps. These packaged apps are used by only 1 percent of users on operating systems that aren’t Chrome-based. Google is now urging developers to migrate their Chrome apps onto the Web.
“For a while there were certain experiences the web couldn’t provide, such as working offline, sending notifications, and connecting to hardware,” said Google in the blog post. Today, approximately 1% of users on Windows, Mac, and Linux actively use Chrome packaged 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,” explained Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, VP Product Management at Google Chrome, in a blog post.
Most of the popular Chrome apps include – Google Drive, Google Store, Calendar, Google News, Google Docs and Sheets. While a majority of these apps are available as regular web apps, though some apps which come bundled with Chrome such as photo-editing app Pixlr Touch Up along with some versions of Angry Birds game will be discontinued. Thankfully, it will be a gradual process, which should give app developers a sufficient amount of time to come up with alternatives before they’re shut down permanently in 2018.