Google’s new ‘Add to Chromebook’ badge makes web apps easier to find and install

an add to Chromebook button on a site
How the “Add to Chromebook” badge looks like on websites. | Image: Google

Google is making a new “Add to Chromebook” badge that’s designed to make it easier for ChromeOS users to find and install progressive web apps (PWAs) and Android apps. The badge links directly to the web app you’re looking to install or to the Google Play Store (if it’s an Android app), 9to5Google reports.

In a Google I/O session video about ChromeOS, the presenter says many people looking for apps start with a Google search and end up on developers’ websites — a great place to display an Add to Chromebook badge and get ChromeOS users to the app. There isn’t much of a barrier when it comes to finding and installing Android apps on a Chromebook, as most people go straight to the Play Store to install those.

However, web apps often end up as just another Chrome website tab, as it’s not clear how to install the web app to the Chromebook (you need to click the icon on the upper right in Chrome). The great thing about PWAs is that they can be almost as comprehensive as a full app and can run offline but load quicker. If you install them directly to a computer or smartphone homescreen, they’re almost indistinguishable from a regular app. The new “Add to Chromebook” badge makes it a lot more likely that people will be able to find and install those apps.

Google notes that there are more than 100 million monthly web app users on Chrome browsers (all platforms, including ChromeOS), so there are a lot of opportunities for developers to get their apps on the computers.