With Chrome Beta for Android, we have the ability to turn any webpage into an app. By selecting “add to homescreen” from the menu, we get a quick-launching app right from our device. It was a feature that we find incredibly useful, and one that we’d like to see make a wider impact. An update to Chrome OS is giving users that functionality, and we hope it goes far beyond that platform.
If you’re on the Developer channel inside of Chrome OS, you can enable the enable-streamlined-hosted-apps flag, which will one the functionality up. From there, you simply get visit a website of your choosing, open Tools from the drop down menu inside the browser, and select Create App from this Website. From there, a shortcut is created in your app drawer.
When opened, the new web app looks a bit more like an app than a Chrome browser window, but it’s there for singular quick launching. To us, this brings in a feature from mobile we’d hoped would make its way to the desktop. Chrome OS is the natural next step for such a feature — even though we thought it would have gone there before mobile — but this is too good not to see everywhere.
Now that the Chrome app drawer is on Windows and Mac, we see no reason this shouldn’t be made available elsewhere. The goal is to have a seamless experience from mobile to desktop and back, and this accomplishes that. If we could get the new apps synced as well, that would only enhance the experience further.