Word has been getting around that Chrome will soon allow users to launch desktop Progressive Web Apps on startup for PCs. While this is a very useful feature that will most certainly feel quite native on Windows and Mac, I wasn’t holding my breath that we’d see the feature land on Chrome OS. I was wrong.
Desktop PWAs run on OS login
Enable installed PWAs to be configured to automatically start when the OS user logs in. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS
#enable-desktop-pwas-run-on-os-loginPWA run on login flag
A recent update to the Developer channel of Chrome OS has ushered in version 85 of our beloved operating system and with it, we have a lot of new features to cover. We’ll do our best to break down all that’s shiny and new in Chrome OS 85 over the next week but this feature is deserving of its own coverage, in my opinion. The concept is simple and straightforward. When you are on a site that offers an installable PWA, users will be prompted at the time of installation to allow the app to launch when singing into their devices.
In the example above, we see the Twitter PWA installation flow with the new “start app when you sign in to your computer” dialog. The flag is currently showing up in the Developer channel of Chrome OS but it appears that it is still a work in progress. Enabling the flag adds the option above but restarting my device failed to launch the Twitter PWA. Still, this feature moved very quickly from Canary to Dev and I would bet that Google is working hard to get this add up and running for when Chrome and Chrome OS 85 roll out in late August or early September.
We discussed this feature briefly on an episode of The Chrome Cast. One of the initial concerns was start up time. Chrome OS developers have dedicated a lot of time and energy to ensure that Chrome devices start-up in ten seconds or less. This triggered my doubt about this feature coming to Chrome OS but upon further consideration, PWAs are launching in a windowed version of Chrome. This would happen after the device was up and running and therefore, shouldn’t affect boot time in any way. We’ll keep checking the installation process to see when PWAs on startup go live so you can check it out for yourself.