Currently, users can download Chrome 56, which comes with the ability to pin website shortcuts on Start Menu, Windows Taskbar, and Desktop. Google wants to take things further and make web apps deeply integrated with Android, and in the “next few weeks”, Chrome 57 beta will bring a new version of this feature.
This new version will allow users to add a progressive web app to their home screen, which will be then found in the app drawer section of the launcher, as well as in the Android Settings. After that, they will start receiving notifications from these apps, and when long pressing on them will be showed “normal Android notification management controls”, instead of Chrome’s controls.
Google has specified that these web apps will show up differently than installed native apps, and because of that, the developers preferred to show up in app drawer section of the launcher, because “differences can be confusing for users and prevent the experience from feeling as cohesive as it could”.
There was a big gap between native apps and web apps, and in a previous blog post, Google has also said that the new Add to Home Screen option will help transition the gap between them. The company has mentioned that other browsers will offer a similar functionally soon. “This new Add to Home screen feature is one more step in our journey to empower developers to build the best possible experience for their users, and we are committed to ensuring the same mechanisms for installing Progressive Web Apps are available to all browsers on Android,” promised Google.
Progressive web apps will need to follow certain guidelines, as they “are installable and live on the users’ home screen, without the need for an app store. They offer an immersive full screen experience with help from a web app manifest file and can even re-engage users with web push notifications.”
Users who want to try out the new feature must head to the Google Play store and download and install Chrome Canary, then open “chrome://flags” inside it. After that, in the Chrome menu will be selected Find in page option, and then users will search for #enable-improved-a2hs. Finally, they will switch the option to Enabled, then close the browser and re-open it.