Google has finally decided to kill Google Chrome Apps packaged with Google Chrome. According to the company only 1 percent of the users across Windows, Mac and Linux were actively using Chrome apps. Most of the hosted apps have been implemented as web apps. The company will start by removing the apps and related support from the Chrome Web Store over the next two years to phase it out in 2018. The apps will be available exclusively for Google Chrome OS.
Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, VP Product Management for Google, took to Chromium blog to announce the decision. He further added "As the capabilities of the web continue to grow, we're excited to see what developers build next. Alongside other browser vendors, we remain committed to investment in the web and enabling users and developers to benefit from its openness and reach."
Removal of Google Chrome apps won't make any difference to the user experience of Google Chrome users. Most of the apps either provided a better experience as native apps for the respective platform, or they had more robust web platform. Google Chrome apps sometimes lacked the functionality or the functionality was not added to the apps as frequently as the web counterparts.
Google introduced Chrome Apps with the introduction of Google Chrome Web Store in December 2010. Later the company introduced a newer version of Chrome Apps in September 2013 which were labelled as "For you desktop". This latest crop of Google Chrome apps included offline access, keyboard shortcuts. These apps deviated from any dependence on Chrome browser running separately from the Chrome. The helped spur a lot of games running as native apps giving game developers a curated store to distribute their games targeting audience across all three platforms. Most of these games were not hardcore games requiring serious hardware. Instead, they ran fine on any average machine.