Google is replacing some Android apps for Chromebooks with Progressive Web Apps (PWA). A PWA is essentially a web page that looks and feels like a traditional application.
This will undoubtedly be good news for many Chromebook owners. In some cases, PWAs are faster and more functional than their Android counterparts. PWAs also take up less storage space and require less juice to operate.
It’s also not a secret that some Android apps on Chrome OS are terrible. Google has struggled for years to optimize Android apps to work on tablet-sized screens. And while viable selection has certainly improved since the Pixelbook days, there are still several programs known for not playing well. Although PWAs have been around for a while, some users probably didn’t know how to get them or why they were a better alternative. Some users also prefer to get all their applications with the same process. (I certainly do)
The first app we knew of to receive this treatment was Twitter, which Chrome Unboxed saw last week. Dominick Ng, technology leader for Google’s Chrome OS team, confirmed to Chrome Unboxed that YouTube TV will also receive a PWA replacement.
Progressive web apps were previously available on the Play Store, but the difference is that they are now the default versions of Twitter and YouTube TV, respectively. In other words, when you search for Twitter in the store and hit “Install”, Google recognizes that it’s on a Chromebook and starts installing the PWA instead of the Android build.
From then on, the Twitter PWA will work the same as the Twitter application; You will see the icon in the app tray, you can configure push notifications and you can also uninstall it from Play Store.