While turning any website into an icon in order to get the most out of your Chromebook, you may realize that the top bar of a web app briefly shows the URL so that you can identify its source easily. This is done because creating a shortcut out of a website eliminates its toolbar, Omnibox, and tab and leaves you with a relatively clean experience. Though this is useful, the URL’s appearance at the top reminds you that it’s simply a website.
It looks like they want to eliminate any sniff of a web browser experience from the PWA. In Chrome OS Canary, there exists a developer flag that once enabled, forces Chrome to display a plain text name for your standalone web app in place of its origin. As you can see from the screenshot below, this gives any website loaded up in its own window the feel of an application. The app name flashes, and does not remain on screen, but it’s still a cleaner look, and I like it.
Desktop PWAs flash app name instead of origin
Replaces the origin flash with an app name flash when launching a web app window. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS
Though subtle, I believe it has big implications for the migration of web apps to the Play Store – something that Google has been testing with its News service and more. Recently, it created a special version of Youtube Music specifically for Chromebooks and uploaded it to the store for users. They likely didn’t eliminate the full Android version of Youtube Music immediately because you still can’t cache streaming media offline with PWAs due to a lack of capability or perhaps an existing licensing conflict.
Either way, the verdict is still out on exactly how long it will take the company to make their big shift away from requiring users to Google search websites each time they want to use them, learn how to turn them into web apps and find them in their launcher via the Everything button. With that said, I believe that once they do, finding new experiences on a new Chromebook out of the box will be super easy – barely an inconvenience.