Now YouTube is Going PWA Too

15 months after it converted YouTube Music into a Progressive Web App (PWA), Google has done so with its flagship YouTube web app as well.

There’s no announcement that I can see, but then there’s not much to discuss here: The only change is that you will now see an “Install YouTube” (or similar) link when you browse to the site using a modern web browser like Microsoft Edge. Once installed, YouTube will appear alongside your other apps in Start and will run in its own window, instead of a browser tab.

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But that’s about it: According to various reports, Google has done the minimum to make YouTube a PWA, and the web app does not support key PWA functionality like offline usage or downloading. That’s OK: I still prefer using many apps in this mode, and just converting to PWA opens the door to further improvements.

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Conversation 15 comments

  • sherlockholmes

    Premium Member
    26 January, 2021 - 9:50 am

    <p>Paul, question: </p><p><br></p><p>whats the difference between a naitive PWA and a PWA you can create with Microsoft Edge? </p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      26 January, 2021 - 10:14 am

      PWAs have specific technical requirements and then a set of optional capabilities.

      But Edge (like Chrome, etc.) can save any arbitrary webpage as a shortcut that can also run in its own window. It’s just the same as running it in a tab, the PC has to be online, etc.

      • sherlockholmes

        Premium Member
        26 January, 2021 - 1:55 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#610048">In reply to paul-thurrott:</a></em></blockquote><p>OK thanks. That means that creating a webpage as PWAs in Edge doesnt have any advantages over a website opened in a tab window. </p>

        • behindmyscreen

          26 January, 2021 - 2:50 pm

          <blockquote><em><a href="#610099">In reply to SherlockHolmes:</a></em></blockquote><p>Other than the PWA enabled website gets a better integrated look and feel. The pop-up also says it "safely integrates with windows features" so I assume it will be behaving like a standard application.</p>

        • Paul Thurrott

          Premium Member
          27 January, 2021 - 9:28 am

          No, PWAs can have major advantages over normal webpages, including integrating with the underlying platform by offering features like offline support, native notifications, etc.

  • kenosando

    Premium Member
    26 January, 2021 - 1:56 pm

    <p>I finally started using Google Podcasts and noticed it also is a PWA.</p>

  • RobCannon

    26 January, 2021 - 3:19 pm

    <p>I've been using YouTube as a PWA in Edge for many months. I tried installing it and it worked (even though an icon didn't pop up). It makes it nice to keep the YouTube tabs out of my browser tabs, but I don't think there is any other functionality.</p>

  • crunchyfrog

    26 January, 2021 - 3:52 pm

    <p>PWA's still confuse me. Are these the way of the future or just a fad? Is this mainly for mobile?</p>

  • Chris_Kez

    Premium Member
    26 January, 2021 - 3:53 pm

    <blockquote><em><a href="#610051">In reply to lvthunder:</a></em></blockquote><p>Perhaps, but with Safari being kind of locked down as well I don't know how much better that is for Google. And I imagine there are fewer features available to a PWA vs. a native app on iOS.</p>

  • b6gd

    26 January, 2021 - 3:56 pm

    <p>Do ad blockers work with it? I never see an ad in YouTube with the right ad blockers.</p><p><br></p><p>update – They do, at lease via Microsoft Edge.</p>

    • MikeCerm

      27 January, 2021 - 10:05 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#610125">In reply to b6gd:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yeah, they do in all browsers. All extensions operate as they normally would in a browser window, because that's what it is.</p>

  • UnciasDream

    26 January, 2021 - 5:53 pm

    <p>How did you get the dark scroll button on the right of YouTube no matter what I do YouTube doesn't force it into dark mode.</p>

  • nerdile

    Premium Member
    27 January, 2021 - 1:28 am

    <p>I wonder how many people are using PWA's today and not knowing it, through Windows, Xbox, and mobile app stores.</p>

  • bmcdonald

    28 January, 2021 - 5:54 pm

    <p>Very curious why (using Edge Chromium (88.0.705.53&nbsp;) – when I go to – all I get is the normal You Tube site (where I am signed in) and see my subscribed channels and so on – but there is no "Install YouTube" link to be found anywhere.</p><p><br></p><p>What am I missing?</p><p><br></p><p>B</p>

  • qaelith2112

    29 January, 2021 - 3:17 pm

    <p>Great time for Mozilla to be dumping development of PWA support in Firefox, eh? Just as more sites become available as PWAs. </p>

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