GOOGLE HAS ANNOUNCED that apps for its Chrome web browser and operating system will have to conform to its guidelines, marking a move away from the familiar web app format.
Last year, the company combined its fifth birthday with reversioning Chrome apps, which added features including offline support, desktop notifications and the removal of browser bars and buttons that previously served to remind users that they were using a web browser, not a native app.
Today, on the Chromium blog, Chrome product manager Amanda Bishop announced that the new app format is no longer advisory, but mandatory.
"Starting today, no new legacy packaged apps can be published in the Chrome Web Store. In December, all existing legacy packaged app listings will be removed from Chrome Web Store's search and browse functions. Existing legacy packaged apps can be updated until Chrome stops loading them in June of 2015."
This will mean that developers will need to migrate to the new platform in order for their apps to keep working. For end users, particularly of Chromebooks, the change will make Chrome OS seem more like a fully-fledged operating system, rather than a "web browser on steroids".
Chromebooks have been a big hit in territories where they have launched because of their competitive pricing, but the web app environment has proven difficult for some potential users to grasp. Microsoft knows only too well the cost of changing familiar interfaces, and Google's decision is shrewd in terms of getting unsure consumers to switch to its Chromebooks.
Last week, Google announced Android L, the provisional name for its next mobile operating system that will integrate more closely with Chrome. µ