The time of the traditional application may soon be coming to an end. While apps have been a mainstay of Apple and Android platforms, the truth is that they place an unnecessary burden on developers needing to maintain different versions of them across each operating system while still maintaining their own web version that offers pretty much the same functionality.
This is where Progressive Web Apps (PWA) are seen as the future, which is essentially a webpage that looks and feels like a traditional app, but is actually a standard website. It makes it easier for developers, takes up less storage space on the device as everything is driven online and for many people and they won’t even notice the difference. Google is now looking to replace a lot of their Chromebook apps with PWAs, something which should make it easier for its customers as many of the native apps on Chromebook are not very well supported.
Chrome Unboxed revealed this change in strategy with Twitter and YouTube to be the first apps to get this treatment. Meaning that next time you use Twitter on a Chromebook, that when you navigate to these sites and choose the install option, it will simply download a link to their web services so that when you open it, you are essentially just using the website within a container.
It may seem like a minor change for many with functionality unlikely to change but in the background, it should make things a lot easier for developers and consumers who will soon get feature parity across all platforms because they are all essentially working off the same codebase. Perhaps a sign of things to come for other apps across the Android platform and iOS as well.
Last Updated: April 16, 2020