Chrome 72 for Android now comes with the Trusted Web Activity feature. This means that PWAs can now be distributed in the Google Play Store. The Trusted Web Activity feature is a way to open Chrome in standalone mode (without any toolbar or Chrome UI) within the scope of our Google’s native Android package. This will allow publishing your PWA in the Google Play store, and from the browser.
PWA in Google Play Store offers the following features:
- Home Screen Widget
- Wear OS companion app or Android Auto extension
- Background services accessing native features
- Limited monetization of the App
- The possibility of having some native screens mixed with PWA content
- Distribute more than one PWA icon in the Launcher and/or home screen pointing to different URLs (within the same host)
- Better internationalization support
However, PWA in the store is an opt-in operation. The PWA won’t be listed in the store if users don’t compile their own APK, and publish it.
Maximiliano Firtman, a mobile and web developer has written a tutorial showing how users can create an Android Package using TWA, the limitations of using this platform, and how to create a PWApk. He talks about the publishing process saying that it is not straightforward. For publishing, you use a Java API that communicates through services with Chrome which requires manual work. He has shared his experiences trying to make it work in his blog post.
Overall he says that “The idea that we can now publish PWAs in the Google Play Store is really a game changer. It seems we are in the early stages of the API right now and we definitely need a higher level solution for this. I really want to see a tool to enter our PWA’s URL and get an APK from it.”