Google Chrome has been able to save sites as app shortcuts for years, but the built-in Apps page hasn’t been updated or improved in years. That might change soon.
The ‘Apps’ menu in Chrome, accessible from the Bookmarks Bar (if you haven’t turned off the button) or from chrome://apps, was originally created for organizing web apps and apps from the Chrome Web Store. Google started phasing out Chrome Web Store apps in 2020, and web app shortcuts are now more commonly opened from the system’s app list — the Start Menu on Windows, the Dock/Launchpad on macOS, and so on. As a result, the Apps page hasn’t been updated in years and has an outdated design.
Google is now working to overhaul the Apps menu in Chrome, according to information on the Chromium Gerrit spotted by Chrome Story. The browser’s development team plans to add more options, including the ability to change which permissions a web app can access, and quickly opening the settings for a given app (if available). There’s also an updated design with rounded app icons and more spacing, matching the appearance of Chrome OS.
The new apps page will also improve multi-device management, similar to recent changes with web apps in Microsoft Edge. Chrome already synchronizes your list of installed web apps, just like your browser history and extensions, but they are displayed with a monochrome icon when they are not installed on your current computer. It will still be easy to re-install a web app shortcut (they won’t be automatically installed), and Google will add a menu option to uninstall a specified web app from all your devices.
There’s no specific timeline yet on when the new design will roll out to everyone. It will be available to test as a feature flag first, labeled as “enable-desktop-pwas-app-home-page” on chrome://flags.
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