Google has started following through on their plan to kill of Chrome Apps for Windows, Mac and Linux users by shutting down (or at least hiding) the Chrome Web Store Apps section for those platforms.
As spotted by Ron Amadeo over at Ars Technica, an email is being sent out to developers in which Google re-iterated what it said last August about Chrome Apps being scheduled to stop working on Windows, Mac & Linux in Q1 2018.
The Chrome Web Store is still showing Chrome Apps for Chrome OS users at this time, but Windows, Mac and Linux users are not seeing any apps or games – though it’s understood you can still link directly to the apps themselves for now.
At the time, Google announced that Chrome Apps are used by only 1% of Windows, Mac and Linux users. In the email sent to developers, Google said they will be working to bring Progressive Web Apps to Desktops with a mid-2018 target date for that functionality anticipated at this stage. Progressive Web Apps will allow desktop users to pin icons and shortcuts to the ‘apps’, similar to the function that ‘hosted apps’ performed previously.
Support for Progessive Web Apps is becoming more available, with Microsoft building support for PWAs into Windows 10, and Apple is similarly building support for PWAs into Safari. Most Android browsers including Opera, Firefox and the Samsung mobile browser support PWAs, so this looks like the way forward.
We’ll have to wait for the glorious new PWA future for just a bit longer, but hopefully not too long.