Three years after introducing special apps that run inside the Chrome browser, Google announced Friday that it will be removing them from Windows, Mac and Linux by early 2018.
Google introduced those apps in 2013 as a way to offer new functions that weren't otherwise available on the web. Chrome browser apps also gave developers a way to write one app that would run across Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome OS.
The reasoning behind Google's decision is pretty clear: Over the past few years, web technologies have advanced to the point where many of the features of Chrome apps are available on websites. Meanwhile, only about 1 percent of users on Windows, Mac and Linux use Chrome Packaged Apps.
The shutdown will be gradual. Starting later this year, new Chrome apps will only be available on Chrome OS, while existing apps will be available on all platforms. Then, in the second half of 2017, the Chrome Web Store will no longer show Chrome apps to users on the affected platforms. Finally, Chrome apps will cease to function on Windows, Mac and Linux in early 2018.