In March 2015 Google added the ability for web app developers to both install shortcuts to the home screen and allow push notifications on mobile. Today they have announced a major enhancement to those features being released to the Chrome beta channel for Android.
In the new update the line between installed app and progressive web app has been significantly blurred. In the new beta if a user adds a progressive web app to their home screen the web app will then also be placed into the app drawer as well as into the app settings in Android. This will allow much finer control over the web app as well as and new functionality.
Once added progressive web apps will be able to react to incoming intents from other apps, as well as have their own notification strings (accessible via long press on a notification) rather than conforming to the same settings as the Chrome app.
With Google also working on instant apps it’s easy to see why they would be interested in developing the mechanisms for having remote applications more seamlessly integrated into an Android Devices core system. With technologies like Gigabit over LTE and 5G coming down the pipeline it’s actually conceivable that (data caps aside) cloud apps will actually operate as fast or faster than installed apps, at least until flash storage gets another speed boost.