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Google Will Kill Chrome Apps For Windows, Mac, and Linux In Early 2018 (venturebeat.com) 102

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VentureBeat: Google today announced plans to kill off Chrome apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux in early 2018. Chrome extensions and themes will not be affected, while Chrome apps will continue to live on in Chrome OS. Here's the deprecation timeline:

Late 2016: Newly published Chrome apps will not be available to Windows, Mac, and Linux users (when developers submit apps to the Chrome Web Store, they will only show up for Chrome OS). Existing Chrome apps will remain available as they are today and developers can continue to update them.
Second half of 2017: The Chrome Web Store will no longer show Chrome apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Early 2018: Chrome apps will not load on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
There appears to be two main reasons why Google is killing Chrome apps off now. First, as Google explains in a blog post: "For a while there were certain experiences the web couldn't provide, such as working offline, sending notifications, and connecting to hardware. We launched Chrome apps three years ago to bridge this gap. Since then, we've worked with the web standards community to enable an increasing number of these use cases on the web. Developers can use powerful new APIs such as service worker and web push to build robust Progressive Web Apps that work across multiple browsers." Secondly, Chrome apps aren't very popular: "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. Chrome on Windows, Mac, and Linux will therefore be removing support for packaged and hosted apps over the next two years."
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Google Will Kill Chrome Apps For Windows, Mac, and Linux In Early 2018

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  • or macro aggressive post?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The app appers guy is on suicide watch because Google has chosen luddite software over modern apps. Google doesn't want apps to app other apps.

    Luddite software!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You could say... he's not appy about it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19, 2016 @07:34PM (#52735809)

    See subject line. Please stop this web app nonsense. It's annoying and sucks.

    • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Saturday August 20, 2016 @01:10AM (#52736873)

      Agreed.

      Part of the problem is when this "cloud / web" stuff evaporates you have no migration path.

      At least a native app (should) continue to work for years and doesn't hold your data hostage.

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      The difference is that the APIs of Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox are more similar than the APIs of Windows, macOS, X11/Linux, iOS, and Android.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Where basically you don't want to or cannot have internet. Same problem as with ChromeBooks really.

    For ex: cleanflight (https://github.com/cleanflight/cleanflight/) configuration app is a chrome app. you use it in the field, usually without any internet connectivity.
    Going to a website doesn't work there. You'd need to be able to make the page work reliably offline which IIRC only Firefoxos does

    • I've read this announcement about three or four times, and from what I can figure out they're not talking about web "apps" - web pages that support the various HTML5 APIs to allow the web page to operate offline, but some Chrome APIs most people have never heard of.

      I'm not saying it's a non-announcement, but most of those seriously affected are probably running bespoke corporate apps intended for Chromebooks. The stuff you find in Chrome's App Store usually consists of either HTML5 apps (unaffected) or H

      • by unrtst ( 777550 )

        Count me in the minority that think this is a significant announcement.

        GP mentioned cleanflight (which is a flight controller for multi rotor and other airplanes).
        Below, someone mentioned a Logitech chrome app to manage the unifying wireless receiver (the alternative is a Windows app).
        I was recently looking into Line, the IM client. It has a bunch of ports, but nothing for Linux - unless you use the Chrome app (https://line.me/en/download). I thought that might just be good enough for me to consider it furt

        • What stops any of the examples you give being ported to standards-compliant HTML5 / NaCl? I would assume in the majority of cases nothing at all, with those that are left only not being ported due to business reasons (ie a desire to no longer support the product in question.)
          • Has Google announced plans to port the Chrome app titled "NaCl Development Environment" [chrome.com] to "standards-compliant HTML5 / NaCl"? Because that's the only way I know of to develop software in any language other than JavaScript on an unmodified Chromebook. Let's say I use NaCl Development Environment on a Chromebook and another IDE on a desktop computer to work on the same project: the Chromebook while I'm riding transit or the desktop computer at home or at work. How would I go about synchronizing the project b

  • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Friday August 19, 2016 @08:07PM (#52735911) Homepage Journal
    Curse you, Google, for EOLing that thing I literally just learned of in its EOL announcement!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Postman is the only chrome app I use, and honestly it is amazing for HTTP API development

    • They weren't apps like Android apps, they were just shortcuts to HTML pages. Worthless, really.

      • They weren't apps like Android apps, they were just shortcuts to HTML pages. Worthless, really.

        And you'd be wrong for nearly every Chrome App that's out there other than a couple of Google's own.

        Chrome Apps was born due to the inability to extend beyond the web-browser. Yes they are mostly locally run javascripts, but they extend well beyond a HTML pages with ability to open and access multiple windows (not browser windows), had direct access to computer hardware, and have direct access to the file system without an intermediate convoluted API.

        Comparing Chrome Apps to HTML pages is like comparing JVM

      • Nope, this is about Chrome Apps, a specific set of APIs, not HTML5 web apps. Chrome Apps are being deprecated because HTML5's capabilities now overlap pretty much 100% and Google would prefer developers use standard ways of doing things than proprietary technologies Google owns but would have to maintain forever.
        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          Chrome Apps are being deprecated because HTML5's capabilities now overlap pretty much 100%

          Using the Chrome app titled "NaCl Development Environment", it was possible to develop in languages other than A. JavaScript or B. those few languages that compile to JavaScript with a compiler written in JavaScript or in a language that compiles to JavaScript. Say I want to code in Python, C#, or C++, without a continuous connection to the Internet. Is this still possible in HTML5?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes. Colour you, me and 90% of Chrome users surprised.

      Whodda thunk it that Google, the worlds best advertising company, fucking SUCKS so hard at advertising their own softwares features?

      Google truly are a paradoxical company.

  • So it is because no one uses them and not to be anti competitive pricks? yet they will be supported for the foreseeable future on Chrome OS?? Does that mean chrome OS sucks balls so badly it can't survive without this legacy tech to lock users in or are you just spinning more bullshit to justify your anti consumer measures.
    • There are plenty of critisisms of Google which are reasonable. Sane people might point out how much they data-mine their users, for example.

      > So it is because no one uses them and not to be anti competitive pricks?

      So you think the idea is that people will ditch Windows and Mac, switching to ChromeOS in order to get Chrome Apps, which few people have ever heard of? On what planet does that make any sense?

      > yet they will be supported for the foreseeable future on Chrome OS?? Does that mean chr

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19, 2016 @08:16PM (#52735959)

    That's the main thing you get when using Google anything: Unknown lifespan.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think it's increasingly becoming a catch22. Developers aren't going to jump aboard google's ship anymore unless there's strong evidence to believe that it's going to last. But in doing so they leave it all up to google's very spotty record of first party development on their new platforms. And that ends up with low user bases causing cancellations causing less people to be interested next time around.

  • I know Spotify is a major user of an embedded Chrome app. Wonder how this will affect their desktop apps.
    • Really, you sure? Sure it's not just a web view of web.spotify.com?

      • by acroyear ( 5882 )

        you'd have to look up the details (there's an extension to do that), but one "clue" is whether or not there is a forced nav bar from the window manager on the window. My own app was originally hosted, but at some point Chrome forced it to have the O/S's native drag-bar, which I didn't want. Packaging as a deployed app, as opposed to a hosted one, solved that. It required making other changes to the code around local storage and browser history (two items that Chrome deployed apps disabled, for reasons I sti

    • One thing's for sure -- if they have to rebuild their app from the ground up, then they're going to f*ck it up by adding everything and the kitchen sink, and going full monetize. Can't wait for the "you just listened to a song about b*tches, would you like to buy some b*tches now?" popups.
  • I will miss chrome remote desktop if they are getting rid of that.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I will also miss Google Keep, Google Hangouts, and Google Compute Engine (they use chrome apps for SSH and RDP access). It was a good experience working with you. Thank you Google.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yet another reason you build nothing on Google anything, ever.

    You cannot trust they won't just shitball it randomly.

  • What do they plan to use as a replacement for essential tools like the one that writes ChromeOS restore images to flash drive? It seems to me they'll be stuck writing separate Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of it if they don't have the unifying base of Chrome. While this would be good for the users in some ways (I didn't enjoy having to install Chrome just to make a restore disk), it sounds like a lot more work for them.

  • Virtualization treats appicide as obsolescence and emulates around it.
  • Like back in the good days before the lie that is easy cross platform compatibility made developer stop working toward meaningful goals and instead endlessly try to reinvent the wheel... the open source wheel.. because everything open source is better.... RITE. Even when the codebase is inferior, it's still better because OPENSOURCE!
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Saturday August 20, 2016 @02:07AM (#52736973) Homepage Journal

    At least as a developer. There's nothing like spending years building a business and development skills only to be crushed by a change in business strategy.

    I've seen this happen so many times over the years it's utterly predictable in a case like this. Supporting this stuff on Linux and MacOS must be a pita that doesn't do anything for Google other than bring apps to ChromeOS. Once ChromeOS had enough success to stand on its own Google had no reason to support other OSs as targets.

    There's only one way to target multiple OSs: non-proprietary standards. Never count on anything proprietary running on multiple platforms over the long haul.

    • ChromeOS had success? Really? Where snd when was that? Must have slipped my attention big time

    • by Anonymous Coward

      >Never count on anything proprietary running on multiple platforms over the long haul.

      This.

      @ 52, with major applications from each decade, starting when i was 20, running or having run for 20+ years, I've experienced this and vendor deaths as often as i have questioned the sanity of os designers.

      appropriately, the captcha for this post is 'trapped'

  • by zdzichu ( 100333 ) <zdzichu@@@irc...pl> on Saturday August 20, 2016 @03:18AM (#52737071) Homepage Journal

    That suck for Signal, as they choosed Chrome as their platform on non-mobiles. It's not a great loss, the program was limited and synchronisation didn't work for SMS.

  • by plazman30 ( 531348 ) on Saturday August 20, 2016 @11:05AM (#52737961) Homepage
    Signal built their desktop client using Chrome APIs, because it was an easy path to getting cross-platform apps. Their desktop client isn't even out of beta yet, and the APIs they're using are being killed off. This kinda sucks.
  • That is such a PoS on linux, I even prefer running Google web apps on Firefox.

  • OpenLRSng uses a Chrome App to configure, Cleanflight also. What do we do now, disable googleupdater service?

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