Progressive Web Apps, which are basically sophisticated web apps that are able to use features like push notifications and a local cache to give users a native-like experience, have been on Google’s radar for the last few years. While they almost look and feel like native apps, they were never fully integrated into Android. Google plans to change this soon, though.
Soon, you will not just be able to add a link to a progressive web app to your home screen, but once you save it there, that app will also be integrated far deeper into Android than ever before. The apps will not just appear on the home screen, for example, but also in the app drawer. They will also appear in the settings menu, get all the same notifications options that native apps currently have, and be able to receive incoming intents from other apps.
“This new Add to Home screen feature is one more step in our journey to empower developers to build the best possible experience for their users, and we are committed to ensuring the same mechanisms for installing Progressive Web Apps are available to all browsers on Android,” Google’s Yaron Friedman writes in today’s announcement.
For users, this will make for a far better experience than the current one, which mostly treats the links to the web apps as glorified bookmarks.