Google has announced that it is killing its browser-based Chrome apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The tech giant is phasing out support for Chrome apps (both packaged and hosted) except for Chrome OS, citing 'less usage' as the primary reason for its decision.
The company says that only 1 percent of Windows, Linux, and Mac users are currently using these apps, while most others rely on regular Web apps. In the early days, Google said the Web wasn't advanced enough to provide services like working offline, sending notifications, and connecting to other hardware for transfer of data. For this purpose, these apps had some value. However, with advancements in the open web, all services are now available as regular web apps, making these Chrome apps redundant. For Chrome OS users though, Google insists that supporting these apps is essential as they play a 'critical role.'
"There are two types of Chrome apps: packaged apps and hosted apps. Today, approximately 1 percent of users on Windows, Mac, and Linux actively use Chrome packaged apps, and most hosted apps are already implemented as regular Web apps. We will be removing support for packaged and hosted apps from Chrome on Windows, Mac, and Linux over the next two years," Google said in a statement.
By the end of this year, development of new Chrome apps will only be supported for Chromebooks, and developers won't be able to build apps for Windows, Mac and Linux any more. However, existing apps will continue to thrive, and can be updated as well. Sometime in 2017 second half, the Chrome Web Store will be removed from all the operating systems except for Chrome OS. By 2018, there will be no trace of Chrome apps on these operating systems, and if you have them running on your devices, they will cease to function.
Google has instead promised to put more of its efforts into extensions and themes, as they are the new way of enhanced browsing. The company has also promised to give more focus to extensions in the Chrome Web Store.
Apart from this, Google has also introduced a new PIN unlock system onto Chrome OS machines for added security. Calling it 'Quick Unlock', Google evangelist Francois Beaufort has announced that the tech giant is testing a new feature in beta that will let users set a pin code, instead of a password.
"This experimental feature is currently being tested in the latest Dev update. All you have to do is enable the flag chrome://flags/#quick-unlock-pin, restart Chrome, and go to Chrome Material Design settings page for now to set up your Lock Screen PIN in the new "Screen Lock" section," he explains.
Beaufort has confirmed that this new feature will roll out in the stable version soon, however no specific timeline has been revealed for this.