Chrome will soon notify users when progressive web apps update their icon or name
Progressive web apps are becoming the new normal for Chromebook owners – slowly, but steadily. With more PWAs appearing on the Google Play Store apparently within the week, Chrome OS users will end up knowing exactly where to go in order to get new experiences for their device once they unbox it. Now that they are getting more attention, the Chrome development team has implemented several enhancements in the browser to handle the onboarding process so that they fit into our lives.
A new developer flag I just found in Chrome OS 94 Canary (also works on Chrome!) Will now ask the device owner to confirm that they understand when a web app changes its name or icon. The dialog you see below appeared in two cases, including only one account. YouTube Music hasn’t changed, but I got invited as a result of the flag flipping. Basically the browser asked me because before being activated it had no data.
Enable update PWA installation dialog for name / icon changes
Activate a confirmation dialog that appears when a PWA changes icon / name – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Android
However, you’ll notice in the image to the right that Google Photos – while it did the same – has updated with the standard name “Google Photos” and replaced my custom nomenclature of “Photos”. I titled it simply and turned the website into an icon shortcut last year when the service updated its look to include the softer version of the reel.
I think this is a necessary step: educating users every step of the way, and treating progressive web app experiences the same as local apps. The less they feel like “just another website url” and the more stand-alone they become, the more they feel like something that you chose to create on your own. There is certainly some psychology here with how the open web is going to evolve, and it’s nice to see Google thinking about its importance.
Where I think there is a real opportunity is if Google adds website permissions to this pop-up. Chrome Web Extensions are already treated with the same respect for user privacy and security on the Web Store as Android apps on the Google Play Store. With PWAs entering this market in place of traditional apps, and with every PWA listing on the Play Store receiving a list of device permissions they will need to access in order to function (camera, microphone, location, etc.), this doesn’t only makes sense to allow the user to review them when and if they also change!