Three years ago, Google launched the Chrome apps program, designed to help developers design platform-agnostic applications. Within the next two years, the company will be phasing-out support for these apps on Mac and Windows-based desktop devices. Chrome OS users will be unaffected by this change for the foreseeable future.
The sunsetting plan aims for newly-released Chrome apps to no longer show to Mac, Windows, and Linux users by the end of this year. By the middle of 2017, apps in general won’t be visible to anyone not using Chrome OS, and the functionality of those already downloaded will be shuttered by 2018. The extended timeframe gives developers ample opportunity to port existing “packaged” Chrome apps to web-based applications in time.
The second type of Chrome app, referred to as “hosted“, are essentially bookmarks—Google says these are generally already implemented as standard web applications. These will be phased-out by the company as well, though the impact will be relatively minimal.
Google’s decision to pull Chrome apps does not impact browser extensions; in fact, the company recommends extensions as one alternative for developers put out by the change.