As we continue to see progressive web apps storming the Play Store instead of traditionally packaged apps, a new development of the PWA installation dialog has been revealed. When you look at the image below, you will notice that it looks like a Google Play Store app listing. It has a description, an installation button just like an app, and a carousel of screenshots showing the features. When developers start using this new ‘rich’ PWA installation prompt, it will appear more often on Chrome for Android.
I think the web has grown enough that an informative popup like this is needed now, more than ever, to help users what they are preparing to install. As we look more and more online for our experiences, it only makes sense that they should be treated in the same way as downloadable apps. If Google continues with this approach, we may even one day see star ratings and other information for instructions on installing web applications that are prominently featured in Play Store listings for them.
Companies such as Twitter and Google have already begun to accept the idea of replacing their app with an online app in the Play Store, and this development shows that a future where it becomes the standard is not as far away as some people think. Little did I know when I wrote that Chrome Web Store could become the ultimate destination for web applications with a little facelift that Google was about to do just that on the Play Store instead. Maybe one day we will see that it becomes a more popular destination for PWA than something like Appscope – a website that has been at the forefront of this for years.
To trigger this new prompt, developers only need to add two features to their site manifest – “screenshots” and “description”. If you are interested in contributing to your site, you can check the instructions to get started. If you are a user, just activate # mobile-pwa-installer-use-bottom-sheet flag on your mobile browser and restart it. Twitter is the only site that seems to be using it so far, but keep an eye out for more and let us know in the comments if you run into anyone else!