Google says desktop web app installs nearly tripled in 2021

Web apps have been popular on desktops for over a decade at this point, but in the past few years new APIs and capabilities have made them even better. Google has also pushed for web apps in Chrome to be “installable” on desktop computers, just like they are on Chrome for Android, and the results are impressive.

Google wrote today in a blog post on the Chrome OS Developer Portal: “Just like the web, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)⁠ are more capable and powerful than ever. Powered by the latest web APIs – not to mention easy to discover and monetize on Google Play – PWAs allow web developers to build trusted apps that users can install and enjoy.And that user base is growing rapidly. At the start of 2021, desktop PWA installs grew by 270%.

Considering many people just use Progressive Web Apps in the browser like normal websites, this jump is impressive – nearly three times as many people are using Progressive Web Apps as native apps compared to the start of 2021. Chromebooks are also seeing an increase in Android app installs, with a 50% increase in 2021, as Google previously shared a few months ago.

Much of the recent work on Progressive Web Apps in Chrome (and Chrome-based browsers) has come from the Fugu project, which the Chromium team describes as “an effort to fill gaps in the web’s capabilities allowing new classes of ‘applications to run on the web. Some examples of Project Fugu’s new features include Bluetooth Web API, WebUSB API, Web Share Target (which allows web apps to appear in Android’s share menu), Web Share API from Tier 2 (which allows sharing images and other files from web-based apps to native apps), Contacts API, and dozens of other useful features.

Source: Chromium OS Developer