Google Planning To Integrate Progressive Web Apps Deeper Into Android


Short Bytes: With Progressive Web Apps, you can send push notifications to your browser user, make your web app work offline, add a native app-like icon on Android home screen. With the upcoming changes, PWAs will be more deeply integrated into Android, eliminating the visible difference between a PWA and a native app.

Making Progressive Web Apps is a relatively new way of creating web apps, wherein you get a lot of native app-like features. For example, push notifications, the ability of the web app to work offline, be able to add them as an icon (fancy bookmark right now), on your home screen.

Here’s how it looks:

A few days back, I wrote how to get your custom blog work offline using service workers, in which I showed you how you can make your blog work offline and how to add an app-like icon for it, which then opens in a native app-like splash screen fashion.

But, right now, as you can see in the video, the app icon can only be added to the home screen, and it doesn’t show up in your app drawer. These differences can be confusing for users as now there are two different kinds of behaviors behind how an icon opens and henceforth behaves. Google is committed to change that soon.

After this change is stabilized in Chrome Stable from Chrome Canary, these changes are expected to take place:

  1. PWA icons will also show in the settings menu.
  2. They will also be able to receive intents from other apps, which means that when a user clicks on a link in your progressive web app, your app will open instead of Chrome running with your PWA running.
  3. Long presses on their notifications will also reveal the normal Android notification management controls rather than the notification management controls for Chrome.
  4. App’s icon and name change will be reflected to the user. Changing your icon or name in the manifest will update it on the subsequent visit by the user.
  5. Permissions like camera and microphone usage will be in the same flow as they are in the browser– the user is prompted for the access of such permissions on run time.

My bet is, with web Bluetooth now being a thing in Chrome, and advancements in permissions and more native features like hardware access, along with the already happening feature upgrades with Progressive Web Apps, native apps are going have a hard time competing in the coming future.

What are your views and feedback? Do share them with us.

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