Google's Chrome Dev Summit is usually the site of big announcements regarding the browser, and this year is no different, with the announcement of a new Android app integration option called Trusted Web Activities. Somewhat akin to Android Instant Apps, this new facet of Chrome is meant to make apps quicker and less resource-draining on users, and easier to create and maintain for developers. Rather than offloading and serving an app on the server side of things, it allows developers to direct users' devices to full-screen web content experiences in Chrome, expanding the ways a developer can create and serve an app or game, and giving app installations on devices a smaller footprint. As a bonus, Google also announced the Chrome User Experience Report, which will tell developers how well users' devices have handled the content on their website, with real-time performance metrics aggregated from multiple visitors and device types.
Trusted Web Activities, in short, allows developers to leverage Chrome's built-in rendering engine to process and serve content, rather than having to use built-in Android ones or code their own. Additionally, it allows seamless integration of high-level web content into an Android app, allowing developers to craft experiences that seamlessly go back and forth between the native app and web app. On a good connection, this can provide a premium user experience, such as a VR app or graphically intensive game, without requiring users to install a large app on their device. Additionally, switching between web and native interfaces can make it easy to natively code certain parts of the app and have them interact with the web interface. A good example of this would be a VR shooting game powered by WebVR, with a native app as the container, and a native component to the app that powers user rankings, scoreboard, and the player customization panel.
The move is part of an ongoing convergence effort on Google's part. The web giant is seemingly trying to unite web content and native device content, with the apparent endgame of high-level, device-agnostic web content becoming the norm, with native apps serving only as the containers. With powerful 5G connections on the horizon and smartphones quickly approaching the power level of the average laptop, the stage is seemingly set for Google and others to fulfill such a vision.