A Chrome app –or Google Chrome App –is a non-standardized form of application which can assume any of two types namely packaged and hosted (Chrome) apps. Chrome apps constitute the truckload of content that you can source from the Chrome Web Store.
What Is Meant by Chrome Web Store?
The Chrome Web Store is a Google-owned online store launched in 2010. It’s a widely used online store for both users and developers of Chrome browser extensions. The store is a platform for the download of both “Google-owned” and “external” add-ons and as such, it houses thousands of content. With over 180,000 add-ons (extensions and web apps), the store is definitely a perfect fit for people seeking to download content (apps, extensions, themes, etc.) specifically built for the Chrome browser.
Reading this post further, you’ll learn more about Chrome apps including Google’s discontinuation of support for the apps.
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Broadly, Chrome apps are some resources you can interact with while using the Chrome browser. Specifically developed for the Chrome browser, Chrome apps can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store and since they’re Chrome-dedicated software, the apps are meant to be used within the Chrome browser.
Google clarifies that the Chrome app, which you commonly download from the Chrome Web Store, could be a one-purpose app or multipurpose software. While a one-purpose (Chrome) app performs only one (specific) function, the multipurpose app is aimed at various functions.
Discontinuation of Support for Chrome Apps
This discontinuation can be traced back to 2016 when Google disclosed that by the end of that year, both packaged and hosted Chrome apps dedicated for Linux, Mac and Windows would be struck out of support. Thereupon, Google began phasing out the apps in 2016 and the phase-out process continued into 2018. It is therefore a fact that Google’s support for Chrome apps (the ones dedicated for Mac, Linux and Windows operating systems) ended in 2018.
Also in 2020, there was another disclosure by Google, indicating that support for Chrome apps would cease completely in March of that year. It was then clarified that support for Chrome apps in the cases of consumers and enterprise would last until 2021 and 2022 respectively.
Google also clarified that in the case of the Chrome OS, Chrome apps would continue to be supported until June 2022. At the time of writing this post, Chrome apps are still available but only to Chrome OS users.
Notably, the support discontinuation exclusively applies to Chrome apps, meaning normal web apps and Chrome extensions are still supported. While normal web apps refer to apps designed for the web, Chrome extensions are contents you can download from the Chrome Web Store in order to incorporate specific functions into your Chrome browser.
Understanding the Two Types of Chrome Apps
Chrome apps basically come in two types –packaged apps and hosted apps. While packaged apps simulate regular desktop apps in terms of features, hosted apps are pretty much like shortcuts or bookmarks.
The original Chrome apps are described as hosted apps and these apps are often available offline. Packaged apps, on the other hand, are distinguished for their functionality as they can access a phone’s native storage as well as interact with hardware devices. Most especially, they can be run offline and without the need for any elements of OS user interface.
The bottom line about Chrome apps is that the apps were actively supported for use with the Chrome browser as well as various operating systems (Linux, Mac and Windows) until the support discontinuation by Google. Currently, the apps are supported only the Chrome OS.
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