This might come as a shocker to some. Google is planning to end support for Chrome Web Store Apps starting this year. This means that submissions for new apps will only be entertained until the end of March. From June 2020 onwards, there will not be any support for Chrome Apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux. There is no danger of Chrome Extensions going off since developers are being urged to switch to Progressive Web Apps or Chrome Extensions.
After quite a while, Google has finally charted out a timeline for phasing out Chrome Apps. Starting in March 2020, Chrome Web Store will not be accepting any new apps for submission. However, developers who already have their app in the store would be able to provide updates to their existing apps until June 2022. This is pretty ironic since it does look like many users would be able to use them. The reason behind this is that from June 2020, support for Chrome Apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux will come to an end. Since users will not have access to the store, chances of them using the updated apps are pretty low! With regards to the Chrome OS platform and the Chrome Apps available there, support will end in June of 2021.
Events leading up to this
Google has been planning to phase out Chrome Web Store apps for quite some time now. The company believes that Progressive Web Apps are where the future lies and has been steadily pointing users in that direction. In 2018, Google phased out all types of apps including packaged application, hosted application, and more. The second part of this includes the phasing of the Chrome Store apps. This will be done slowly, giving developers time to make the shift.
Let’s take a look at the timeline of phasing out the Chrome Web Store Apps. This was first published in the Chromium blog post by the company.
March 2020: Chrome Web Store will stop accepting new Chrome Apps. Developers will be able to update existing Chrome Apps through June 2022.
June 2020: End support for Chrome Apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Customers who have Chrome Enterprise and Chrome Education Upgrade will have access to a policy to extend support through December 2020.
December 2020: End support for Chrome Apps on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
June 2021: End support for NaCl, PNaCl, and PPAPI APIs.
June 2021: End support for Chrome Apps on Chrome OS. Customers who have Chrome Enterprise and Chrome Education Upgrade will have access to a policy to extend support through June 2022.
June 2022: End support for Chrome Apps on Chrome OS for all customers.
While this is not great news for Chrome App developers and users, but there is one load off our mind. This refers to the fact that Chrome Extensions are here to stay, at least for the time being. This is cemented by the fact that Google is supporting the transition to Progressive Web App or a Chrome Extension.