Google has taken a major step toward better incentivizing web developers to create Progressive Web Apps, websites that can have some of the same functionality of native apps.
With its latest Chrome beta release, the company has enhanced Android’s “Add to Home screen” functionality. Since 2015, this feature has allowed Android users to add both regular websites and Progressive Web Apps to their smartphone’s home screen. Moving forward, however, the OS will more deeply integrate websites that fit into the latter category.
For instance, the next time an Android user adds a Progressive Web App to their home screen, the website’s shortcut will also appear in their phone’s app drawer. Similarly, users will also find all their PWAs listed in Android’s settings menu. Users will also be able to manage the notifications that come from these websites using Android’s standard notification controls, instead of the controls that come with Chrome.
To date, there hasn’t been a lot of support for PWAs. While they offer several advantages over traditional websites, including faster loading times and the ability to function in less than ideal network conditions, developers had to invest additional time and resources to implement them. Until today, developers also didn’t have a lot of incentive to put in the extra work.