Google Decrees All Local Chrome OS Apps Must Work Offline

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Chrome OS  “packaged apps” that have no offline support are on their way out. Google announced it will stop support of all legacy packaged apps by June 2015 and remove their listings from its Web Store by December. 

To be clear, apps that don’t work offline will still be supported, but they’ll become what Google calls “hosted apps” — programs that run within a Chrome browser window.

Chrome OS works primarily with Web apps, which still aren’t required to run offline, but the system also supports local software. In 2010, the company introduced “packaged apps,” a form of software that installs and runs locally using the browser, but does not have to function offline. In 2013, the company introduced “Chrome apps,” another form of local software that is independent of the browser and is required to work with or without an Internet connection.

Today’s announcement puts the final nail in the coffin of legacy packaged apps. The new Chrome apps run in their own windows, launch directly from your desktop and are more secure, offline friendly and powerful.

MORE: Best Chrome Apps 2014

Google’s latest blog post states that legacy packaged apps will no longer work in Chrome beginning in June 2015, and starting today, apps that are in that format will not be listed in the Web Store.

Google also recently blocked the installation of apps downloaded outside the Chrome Web Store, making it harder for developers to get around the company’s restrictions. The lack of apps that worked offline was a big complaint against Chrome OS, and with this new restriction, Google is encouraging developers to build more native software.

Cherlynn Low
Cherlynn Low
Cherlynn joined the Laptopmag team in June 2013 and has since been writing about all things tech and digital with a focus on mobile and Internet software development. She also edits and reports occasionally on video. She graduated with a M.S. in Journalism (Broadcast) from Columbia University in May 2013 and has been designing personal websites since 2001.
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  1. Ritchie S Says:

    Unfortunately in the process – Chrome now has a fully walled garden. Can you imagine the outrage if Microsoft refused to allow a sideloaded app?

    Oh wait, that happened with Windows RT. Perhaps Google could take a page from WinRT and learn why people are starting to dislike Chrome and its ethical choices.

  2. Ashe A Says:

    I find it a little disappointing that Google is shutting everything down, personally. I’ve always admired the open-sourceness (pardon the non-word) of Google, but despite their open-sourceness, they’re locking down many of the things I’ve always loved about them.

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