This post was published 3 years, 9 months ago. Due to the rapidly evolving world of technology, some material it contains may no longer be applicable.
Until now, whenever you’ve had a web app shortcut on your home screen pressing it would launch a new Chrome tab. However, it seems the latest update to Chrome stable has changed this behaviour to give a more native feel.
Instead, webapps that you add to your home screen will now run in a full screen view with none of the Chrome UI – making them look and feel like an app of their own.
They will also use the shortcut title as the app name on the multitasking overview screen along with the sites favicon, so you can name the web app whatever you like.
I noticed this first testing with One.com’s webmail which, as you can see in the screenshot below (some emails hidden!), now looks just like a native app despite actually running in Chrome.
It makes you wonder if Google might at some point just merge the Chrome web app store with Google Play. There are many apps in the Play Store currently which are just a wrapper for a web app and so if Chrome can now provide that functionality itself then it could cut out unnecessary code and make it far easier for web developers to publish web apps alongside native ones.
It seems this is another step forwards to bringing apps and the web together, something which was a big focus at I/O this year. We know Google has a lot more planned for the future but this is certainly a nice start.