Google has now taken to its official blog to lay out a timeline for what will ultimately be the death of Chrome Apps on every platform. For clarity, these are the web apps that currently occupy the Google Chrome Web Store. The apps cover a wide variety of purposes from entertainment to productivity. Some more popular apps include Line Messenger, Telegram, Google Keep, Pluto TV, VLC, and Twitter.
The move to remove Chrome Apps is being made in support of open standards that work across the web regardless of the browser used. That includes products, Google says, like Google Earth. But it also includes other Google products like the photo compressor and resize tool Squoosh.
The move will not impact other Google Chrome services and products, such as Google's Chrome Extensions.
So what's the timeline for Chrome Apps demise?
Now, Chrome Apps will still be alive and well until the year 2022. But developers who are currently working on apps will want to push those out much sooner. As of March 2020, Google says the Chrome Web Store will stop accepting new Chrome Apps. Those apps will continue to be updateable until the final month of support.
For Windows, Mac, and Linux users, support continues through to June of 2020. Chrome Enterprise and Chrome Education Upgrade on those platforms will have access for longer if they take advantage of the proper extension policy. In that case, those users will have until December of 2020.
December 2020 is the date that support of those apps will be discontinued on the three platforms and subsequent versions of those.
After the death of Chrome Apps on those platforms, the timeline skips ahead to June 2021. That's when support will end for NaCl, PNaCl, and PPAPI APIs.
That's when support will end for Chrome Apps on Chrome OS. As with Linux, Mac, and Windows, Google says that customers who have Chrome Enterprise and Chrome Education Upgrade will have access to a policy to extend support.
That extension runs a bit longer, probably due to the cloud-based nature of Chrome OS. Enterprise and Education users will have access through June 2022.
Developers will need to embrace open Web standards
Because the death of Chrome Apps as laid out by the Google timeline is not insignificant, Google is offering up some suggestions for developers. To begin with, the search giant is going to be updating its dedicated migration site — linked to in the blog. That will help developers shift away from the dying platform before it comes to an end in June 2022.
But the company is additionally suggesting developers move their experiences to open Web standards. For example, the company explicitly points to PWAs — or progressive web apps — as a solution.
PWAs are apps that run in the cloud but which function like native apps. The current plan is to continue pushing those forward to become more native until they are indistinguishable from native apps. The company plans include giving access to local resources too, allowing users with proper hardware a more robust experience with more intensive apps.