Love it or hate it, TikTok is a phenomenon not unlike the short-lived and gone-all-too-soon Vine. It’s a social media website centered on short video clips very much similar to that of Instagram, Youtube Shorts, and Facebook stories. It’s blown up in recent times, and while it does feature some pretty wacky content (do not let your kids download this – you have been warned!), it’s found itself in a place where it’s become quite the tool for viral influencer marketing. Some ‘TikTokkers’ (I guess that’s what the kids are calling it these days) have amassed millions of followers in a relatively short period of time and have built their personal brand on the platform alone! Yes, it’s ridiculous, and yes, we need to adapt as we age.
While TikTok has only really been known for being available via smartphones up until now, many will be surprised to find that the service actually features a robust website to complement it. As you’re probably well aware by now if you read our site often, we are obsessed with the idea of turning websites into icons and creating that app-like experience on a laptop. The concept of having everything you are interested in as an icon on your shelf or in your Chromebook’s launcher and accessing it via your ‘Everything button’ instead of a text-based list of bookmarks is becoming more ideal and popular, especially as more Windows and macOS users come to Chrome OS. They’re familiar with icons representing programs on their old operating systems, mind you, so it makes it easy to find things if they’re visually represented!
With that, one of our readers made us aware via Twitter (sorry, your name got buried, but comment for kudos!) that the popular website now features an ‘Install’ button in the Chrome Omnibox which allows you to ‘Install TikTok’ to your Chromebook! After doing some research, I found that this may have been updated to do so between a few weeks and a month ago, but the notable highlight is that Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) are blowing up right now. If TikTok is focused on turning its service into a PWA, then everyone else should too. I don’t care how important or trivial your service may be to different user groups, the fact remains that millions of people use Chromebooks, and they’re all from different interest groups. PWAs provide a future where Google can start plugging these websites as apps in the Play Store, as they have already begun to do.
Google recently updated its requirements for the Install prompt to appear and requires web developers to provide some kind of offline experience for users – any kind, actually. They want it so bad that they’ve actually created their own code for anyone to inject for free that doesn’t even care to provide any meaningful offline functionality. The whole point is that no user should ever see the ‘Offline Dino’ unless they’re playing Dino Swords. A seamless, beautiful, uninterrupted experience should be present across all of Chrome OS, even if most of it is comprised of third-party web apps and services.
If you’re interested in having TikTok as an app on your Chromebook and you don’t want to rely on the Google Play Store version, simply head over to the website, click in the browser Omnibox at the top, and find the ‘Install’ icon shown above. Then, follow the steps to install it, and tap your ‘Everything Button‘ to find it via search. You may be interested to know that Will Smith is huge on TikTok right now (because why wouldn’t he be?) and so is Gordon Ramsay, because who doesn’t like watching that man yell ‘It’s raw!’ in people’s faces? Some of my favorite TikTokkers include Ruslan, Andy Mineo, and profiles focused on life hacks, bullet journaling, and entrepreneurship. Now, we just need Google to implement its Digital Wellbeing tools in Chrome OS so we can remain productive – rest in pieces, schedule.