Web apps get a lot of flack: they’re slow, they’re amateurish, they’re poor excuses for full-blown native apps. But sometimes they’re either the best option for the job, or all that’s even available. If you’re stuck using web apps, why not make the experience as nice as possible? To that end, Google’s introducing a number of features in its latest Chrome for Android beta release, focused on really fleshing-out how web apps work.
The new mode is called Install to Homescreen, but it goes beyond just that. Apps installed in such a manner will launch full-screen, without the usual browser UI accoutrements. They’ll also appear in the Android task switcher independently from the browser, though for the moment at least they’ll still be labeled simply “Web App.”
This won’t work by default with all web apps, but building support is as easy as the developer adding a few lines of HTML, and considering how much nicer this change could make the web app experience go, we imagine many apps will be scrambling to get their own support in place.