Chrome OS’s app ecosystem is a multitude, but the ‘App Service’ may want to repair it
Thanks to upgrades Google has released through the years, Chrome OS is now able to jog 4 unique varieties of apps — Chrome apps and extensions, Web apps (such as PWAs), Android apps, and Linux apps — every of that’s managed differently. This has made app management on Chrome OS into something of a mess, however, Google is looking to unify the platform with an undertaking referred to as the “App Service.”
As it stands these days, Chrome OS has four separate, detached app ecosystems, and it shows, both in user experience and inside the code itself. For instance, the context menu for a Chrome app provides the options “Pinto shelf,” “Uninstall,” and “App info,” and the same menu for a progressive internet app shows “Open,” “Pinto shelf,” “Remove from Chrome,” and “App Info.”
Even simply uninstalling every kind of app isn’t as regular as you would assume. For instance, if an Android app wouldn’t create an icon in Android’s drawer, it additionally received’t create one in Chrome OS. This manner, to uninstall it, you want to access Android’s Settings app (from Chrome OS’s Settings app) to dispose of it that manner.
These inconsistencies occur because whenever Google delivered a new form of the app, like the latest edition of Linux apps, they devised new methods to connect that style of an app to Chrome OS at the entire, which didn’t necessarily have something in commonplace with any previous method.
The App Service
At some factor, the Chrome OS team found out how unsustainable and messy this pattern turned into, and determined to do something positive about it in a massive new undertaking entitled “App Service.” The aim of the App Service assignment is to create a uniform manner for Chrome OS to get facts approximately and have interaction with apps from “publishers” like ARC++ (Android apps) and Crostini (Linux apps).
In the legit documentation, Google breaks down the App Service into five distinct elements.
App Registry: list the established apps.
App Icon Factory: load an app’s icon, at various resolutions.
App Runner: launch apps and track app instances.
App Installer: installation, uninstall and update apps.
App Coordinator: maintain machine-huge settings, e.G. Default handlers.
Combining these 5 pieces, Chrome OS must quickly feel find it irresistible has one unified app surroundings, not four disjointed ones.
Good matters to come
One early, the high-quality effect of creating the App Service is that it became feasible for Chrome OS to display every app from each atmosphere in a single page the use of the App Registry. This page spotted via Chrome Story within the state-of-the-art Chrome OS Canary, is referred to as “App Management” and lives at chrome://apps after you enable the #app-control flag.
This page continues to be a work-in-progress, however, let in for the clean, blended management of Android and Chrome apps. Over time things could be delicate and will include Linux apps and innovative net apps. On other systems like Windows and OSX, the identical Apps Management page is actually used to manipulate set up Chrome extensions.
Another exciting opportunity for the future comes from the App Installer portion of the App Service because it will quickly be possible to put in apps of every kind in a uniform way. Today, each kind of app has its own specific supply to put in from — the Chrome Web Store for Chrome extensions, the Play Store for Android apps, and so forth — but with the App Service, it will become possible for Google to construct a unified app keep for Chrome OS, or really add different styles of apps to the Chrome Web Store.
If not anything else, a unified market should make Chrome OS’s Linux app aid a greater novice pleasant revel in, as there are currently no app discovery techniques blanketed. Currently, to put in Linux packages, one desires to apply the “apt” command or manually download and install.Deb files.
If Google does have the ambition to construct this sort of market, we’re at a minimum month far away from seeing it, as many details of the App Service are nonetheless beneath active discussion and development.