Apps chrome

ChromeOS makes it easier to open links in apps and web apps

According C2 Productions on TwitterGoogle is rolling out a new way to decide if a link you click will open in an Android app or a web app on your Chromebook! That’s fantastic news, if you ask me, especially as someone who’s extremely picky about keeping my day-to-day workflow and app launcher clean and organized.


As you can see in the image below, C2 has a YouTube video open in the browser and is prompted on the top right of the Omnibox via a YouTube app icon. The dialog that appears says “Open in app”, followed by “Select an app on your Chromebook to open this link”. Both options are just YouTube icons with no way to tell them apart, but C2 implies that one is from the Google Play Store and the other was created via the vertical three-dot menu “Create Shortcut” option of the browser.

It may even show up on Desktop Chrome for Windows, but it seems the description that mentions “Chromebook” is tailored depending on whether or not you open a link that way on your ChromeOS device. This currently appears on ChromeOS Canary and will roll out to the Stable channel at some point, but you may need to be patient.

I hope Google makes it easier to distinguish between apps and PWAs in this dialog window, even if it’s just a small web app indicator. In the past, Google marked websites that were turned into icons with a small gray Chrome browser icon, but only removed it last year.

Luckily, you can tell Chrome to remember your choice when it comes to opening links so it becomes a unique process for each link source. This means that if you open a link again from YouTube, regardless of its origin, it will open in the app or web application you specified. However, if you open a Facebook or Twitter link, for example, and both types of apps are installed for that site, you’ll still need to tell it what to do.

My only issue with this is that these settings are saved on your device and not synced to the cloud. Maybe one day this stuff will be sent to your Google account in the cloud and sent back to your Chromebook when you sign in to the same device or a new device. I’m not holding my breath because these little polish or quality of life updates aren’t really a priority for Google until years after the fact.