Google today started shipping Chrome 70 on Windows. The latest upgrade to Chrome brings a major new feature: support for desktop progressive web apps or PWAs.
With desktop PWA support, Chrome now lets users install PWAs as regular apps on Windows 10. You can, for example, install Starbuck’s PWA app as an app from the Chrome menu and it will then show up on the Start Menu in Windows 10. You can then launch the app as a regular app, add it to your desktop, or pin it to your taskbar for quick access. And with Chrome now using Windows 10’s native notifications and the Action Centre, these apps won’t feel any different from regular Windows 10 apps.
When you open a desktop PWA, it doesn’t have an address bar like Chrome — instead, it appears to be a native Windows app. As long as a PWA meets the “standard” criteria, these apps will work seamlessly once installed and look almost exactly like native apps in Windows which is pretty cool.
“Desktop progressive web apps can be ‘installed’ on the user’s device much like native apps. They’re fast. Feel integrated because they launched in the same way as other apps, and run in an app window, without an address bar or tabs. They’re reliable because service workers can cache all of the assets they need to run. And they create an engaging experience for users,” Google noted in a page outlining desktop PWAs. The support for desktop PWAs is expected to arrive on Mac and Linux with Chrome 72, with Google’s own Chrome OS supporting it since Chrome 67.