Google certainly hit upon a magic bullet in terms of support and versatility when they developed their Chrome internet browser. That would certainly explain why its worldwide browser market share (for desktops) as of May earlier this year was 68% (and it got as high as 73% back in 2018). Five years after its launch, Chrome was beefed up by Google with “Chrome Apps,” web applications similar to those on mobile devices that are opened by the Chrome browser in separate windows, allowing for features like offline work and cloud connection. It was an interesting concept, but Chrome users were so disinterested that Google decided to axe Chrome Apps, someday.
If that came off as ambiguous then it is because, according to The Verge, Google has indeed held off on ending official support for Chrome Apps on major desktop operating systems after it originally announced back in January that they will become inactive by mid-year. That meant the Chrome Apps for stuff like Pocket, Kindle, and even YouTube and Spotify were supposed to stop working come June. When the few Chrome users who actually bother by them noticed that Apps remained active, Google kept quiet until an August 10 announcement.
Rather than be taken offline last June 2020, Chrome Apps have been given a new lease on life at least until June of next year. And that counts only for support from Google’s end. Even when that is gone, should the organizations collaborating with Google on their corresponding Chrome App (YouTube and Spotify come to mind) would keep up supporting them, then that adds yet another year until about June 2022. That should allow enough time for developers to transition the functions of Chrome Apps to simple extensions working within the Chrome browser, as an alternative to just disappearing completely.
Just how ignored have been the Chrome Apps feature by users of the Chrome browser? According to Google, by 2016 the feature suite was being utilized by just 1 percent of all Chrome users across the major platforms of Windows, Mac and Linux. That was the time when they decided to begin winding down in support of them. With their announcement Monday this week, Google has now indicated the zero hour for when Chrome Apps will lose all technical support, just short of a decade after they were originally introduced.
Image: 9 to 5 Google