Chromebooks come with a small handful of different apps installed out of the box. Apart from the different selection of bundled Android apps we see on the Lenovo Chromebook Duet, nearly all Chromebooks come with the same out of box experience across the board. The obvious things we’ve all come to expect on a new device – apps like Files, Camera, Gmail, Keep, and YouTube – are core to the Google ecosystem of services and clear choices for being installed on Google’s own OS.
Compared to Windows laptops and Android phones, this initial set of installed apps that appear without asking is actually rather small. It is one of the best parts of the Chromebook experience: everyone across all devices gets the same version of Chrome OS with the same apps installed from the start. It cuts down on bloatware and keeps the OS far cleaner than what we see with other operating systems. Google’s core services are obviously an exception to all of this, and this move to put Stadia on all Chromebooks moving forward is not only reasonable: it’s also a pretty obvious move.
In this commit, we see very clear language showing the Stadia PWA being bundled with Chrome OS alongside other Google apps like Photos, Duo, and YouTube Music. It also clearly shows that we’re still talking about the PWA, not the Android app, and this isn’t surprising given the work the Stadia team has done on the web version of the streaming game service.
[Default Apps] Add Stadia to the default app order.
Add the Stadia app ID and preload it after Duo on the first page.via the Chromium Gerrit
Smart move for Stadia
So, what will change, then? For most users, a Stadia web app will be in the app drawer when they first crack open their Chromebook and can be removed with a simple right-click on the icon. If you choose to keep it around, great. If not, remove it. It’s a small change that will possibly get Stadia in front of a large base of users that may never have thought about trying it before.
Google simply needs to offer a few months of the Pro subscription for free along with this move if they expect people to actually give it a go. We all know that general consumers tend to use the stuff that comes with their devices, after all, so as long as Google makes sure to give these new potential users a simple path to actually getting up and running with Stadia right out of the box, I think the inclusion of it on Chrome OS could be a helpful move in bolstering the lacking player base. Time will tell.