Hot off the heels of the Google Calendar web app gaining offline support for Workspace users, the Youtube web app is now showing the PWA install prompt in the Chrome Omnibox for some. It’s important to note that some users have stated that they’ve seen this for a while now, but a mass rollout is significant versus a few people testing it in stages.
We’re seeing Google aggressively push the idea of turning many of its services into actual PWAs as they begin placing them in the Google Play Store in place of traditional apps. This includes the likes of Youtube Music, Google News, and more. Not only that, but PWAs in the Play Store just received the ability to utilize the same billing structure as traditional “Android apps” as of the newly launched Chrome 88.
More importantly, Google recently began enforcing a policy that would require developers to provide some form of offline functionality in order to make this PWA install prompt appear at the top of the Chrome browser.
We encourage web developers to make offline supported PWA.
We plan to raise the bar of the offline capability check. PWAs that don’t provide at least a basic offline experience, will not show the install prompts.Chrome PWA Offline Support Enforcement
With that being something that they too need to abide by, here’s the million-dollar question – with the install prompt appearing on Youtube now, does that mean that the web app may soon receive the ability to locally cache video downloads for offline viewing like its app counterpart? Most people are unaware that progressive web apps have the ability to do this, but it’s becoming an increasingly common practice. One day, we may live in a future where all of Google’s apps on the Play Store are replaced with web applications, and I’m extremely excited about that. Web apps require zero downloads and are becoming more indistinguishable from regular apps by the day.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that the Youtube web app may soon make the jump to being a tried and true PWA that replaces its doppelganger on the Play Store? Do you think that we could one day have the ability to keep Youtube videos offline on Chromebooks without installing a Play app? What about Youtube Music – does this, by extension, hint at the ability to store your Mixtapes offline via its own PWA?