Google Chrome Will Soon Let You Install Any Website as a Desktop App

Google Chrome will soon let you install any webpage as a desktop app on your Mac, just like Apple's Safari browser does in macOS Sonoma (via Android Police).

Chrome Feature 22
The new feature was spotted by X (Twitter) user Leopeva64 in the latest Chrome Canary build, which includes a new option called "Install page as app," which can be found in Settings ➝ Save and share. Websites such as YouTube and Reddit which already have their own web apps will also automatically appear as optional installs in this menu.

Selecting the "Install page as app" option invokes a prompt to "Install app," as shown in the image below. Web apps are automatically saved in an Applications subfolder called Chrome Canary Apps, where they can be optionally dragged to the Dock in macOS.

chrome web apps
Currently, Chrome's implementation of web apps is more sophisticated than Safari's, as it provides not only a simplified toolbar with navigation buttons, but also a pared down settings menu with options including Copy URL, Open in Chrome, Uninstall, Zoom, Print, Find and Edit, and Cast.

The feature is thanks to Chrome's long-standing support for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), which Google originally embraced as a replacement for Chrome apps on the Google Play store.

chrome web app 2
Users can try out the feature before it goes live in the stable build of Chrome by downloading the latest Canary 124 update and enabling two new flags. To do so, copy and paste the following links into the address bar:

  • chrome://flags/#web-app-universal-install
  • chrome://flags/#shortcuts-not-apps

Chrome 123 is currently in beta and is expected to be released to the public imminently, so PWA support for webpages won't be in the upcoming version, but the next stable build after that.

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Top Rated Comments

coffeemilktea Avatar
19 weeks ago
When I woke up this morning, I thought to myself "you know what would fill the great emotional void in my life? MORE Google Chrome." And like some demented, ad-serving, data-hoarding Santa Claus, Google provided everything I could have asked for and more today.

Now, every time I see the web apps cluttering my desktop, I can feel the existential crisis being pushed further away. Thank you, Google! ?
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mrkevinfinnerty Avatar
19 weeks ago
Installing apps? Apple wants 30%.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nt5672 Avatar
19 weeks ago
As much as I hate Google, Google seems like the only way to keep Apple providing functionality users want. Apple certainly does not care.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
scorpio vega Avatar
19 weeks ago
No thanks. I try not to install spyware/adware on my Mac. So no to chrome
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JitteryJimmy Avatar
19 weeks ago
Awesome move, Google!

These websites masquerading as apps will make it far easier for users to update their out-of-date Adobe Flash Player.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chrono1081 Avatar
19 weeks ago
People still use Chrome?

EDIT: Why are people butthurt for me making fun of Chrome? It's a terrible browser and there's plenty of reason enterprise is moving to Edge (which everyone knows is built on Chromium so don't come at that angle).

Chrome is a classic example of something Google made and then stopped caring about. For YEARS Chrome couldn't even detect a simple password change and would constantly try and fill in an old password on all the computers I and my coworkers were forced to use it on. That's a shameful bug to have.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)