New apps will be available only on Chromebooks by the end of this year, and will stop loading on non-Chrome OS machines in 2018.
Google has touted its Chrome browser as all you need for desktop computing on any operating system. But the search giant said in a blog post Friday that it will gradually be phasing out the browser's apps for Windows, Mac and Linux machines.
The apps range from photo-editing program Pixlr Touch Up to games like a now-discontinued version of Angry Birds. You download them from the Chrome Web Store, launch them from the Chrome browser and they open in a separate window, as if they were a program installed on your hard drive.
Didn't know these apps were a feature of Chrome? You're not alone. Google said in its post that few people who use Chrome on Mac, Windows and Linux machines also use the apps.
The wind-down will be gradual, with apps published in late 2016 being available only to those using a Chrome OS machine. Existing apps will remain available for a bit on all platforms, and developers will be able to keep them updated. The Chrome Web Store will stop showing Chrome apps for Windows, Mac and Linux machines in the second half of 2017, and the apps will stop loading entirely by early 2018.
The timeline will hopefully let app developers come up with alternatives for their programs before the 2018 shutdown.