If you’ve ever owned any device that can install apps in any way, shape or form, you are familiar with the opposite action as well: the uninstall. It’s a normal function of any device these days, and it is a function that users expect a certain consistency from. No different than the process was to get that app on your device, the process for an app’s removal should be equally transparent and simple.
After all, when it comes to installing software from the cloud, we generally are used to the idea of a unified app store thanks to Apple and Google conditioning us to do so. Before mobile phones and tablets, things were a bit more varied when it came to ways to get something installed on a computer. Those days are behind us now, and users expect to be able to add and remove apps from there devices in a simple and seamless way across the board.
Well, Chrome OS and its propensity to continue adding interoperability with other operating systems has the unfortunate side effect of taking us a step backwards when it comes to app management. Until recently, even seeing all your installed apps in one place wasn’t that easy. Google has fixed the basics of cross-platform app management, but there’s still work to be done. There are multiple ways to add apps to your Chromebook, and between PWAs, Extensions, Chrome apps, Android apps, and Linux apps, I’m not sure there will ever be a one-stop shop for all these app installs.
It does look like they are working on a unified dialog and process for uninstalls, though. According to language found in a few commits from the Chromium Repositories, it looks like a unified process for uninstalling an app – any app, any type – could be on the way very soon. In fact, both commits have already been merged, so we could see this arrive in Beta or Dev Channel in the next update to either of those versions of Chrome OS. Check out the language below:
Modify the uninstall dialog to use the consistent language. Based on the UX team review suggestion, modify the uninstall dialog:
Remove PromptUninstall. Remove PromptUninstall to prepare for “Uninstall” dialog language consistency. Because some variables are used by ARC uninstall dialog, e.g. IDS_APP_UNINSTALL_PROMPT_TITLE, so will follow up, remove ARC and Crostini uninstall dialog, so that those variable can be re-used for the new uninstall dialog.
It is quite clear that the entire dialog and setup for uninstalling apps across the board is getting ready to get a big overhaul. From the looks of it, the differences in the way we see things like ‘Remove from Chrome’ versus ‘Uninstall’ across different apps could all go away and be replaced by a singular way of referring to app removals. Since we can’t see any of the documents or bug reports at this time, there’s no way to know exactly what that language might look like.
I say this frequently, but I think anything that clears up muddy waters is a great thing for new users who adopt Chromebooks. With Android apps and PWAs installing quite easily and Linux apps getting more frictionless by the day, I think there’s a near-future scenario where new users find themselves installing apps from all sorts of places on a regular basis. When they come across something they don’t like or don’t need, seeing a clear bit of language that confirms the uninstall of that app will go a long way towards making their experience on Chrome OS a better one. We’ll keep an eye out for this change to show up, but expect to see it in the next few weeks if not sooner.