Friday, February 3, 2017

Progressive Web Apps, or WebAPKs, are live on Chrome Beta for Android (updated)

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Update (2/3): After coming to Canary and Chrome Dev, now WebAPS support comes to the Beta version. More details here. 

Google’s Progressive Web Apps — or WebAPKs — are now live in Chrome. The new web apps, discussed last year at the Chrome Dev Summit, behave similarly to apps you would download from the Play Store but can operate without the same demand on resources, storage space and battery life.

Progressive Web Apps, in a sense, bridge the gap between an app and a mobile website. They’re a website package that can be installed on devices to offer some of the functions of traditional apps, such as push notifications, while being slim and easy to update. Think of them as a more advanced home screen website shortcut.

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Though it’s not clear when it went live, users can enable it by entering the following Chrome flag in a new window in the Chrome Dev or Canary apps:


Then, when you access a Progressive Web Apps compatible website, you can open the Chrome options menu and hit “Install to Home Screen” to download and install the website’s WebAPK file.

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Progressive Web Apps are a work in progress right now and rely on support from website devs to integrate the features into their web apps. Websites which support them aren’t widely available yet but here’s a list of some currently making use of the functionality.

What are your thoughts on Progressive Web Apps? Let us know in the comments.

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