Google is pushing out a new update for its Android Chrome app to make mobile websites act more like native apps. As a result, individual websites should be able to keep visitors coming back for more without investing in a full-fledged application.
The biggest part of the update is the addition of push notifications, which let you sign-up for specific websites to ping you with news throughout the day. Google is starting with a handful of launch partners, including Product Hunt, Pinterest, FanSided, eBay and Facebook. Apple already offers something similar with Safari, though its browser-based push notifications only work on OS X-powered devices.
Google’s update also includes an easier way to add a website to your homescreen. If Chrome notices that you visit a site regularly you’ll see the option to “Add to homescreen.” Then the next time you want to check-in you can just tap the icon instead of navigating through your browser. This isn’t exactly a new feature, but before now you’d have to jump into the Chrome app’s settings to do the same thing.
Everything announced Monday is available now for developers who want to dig in. Hopefully we’ll see plenty of websites adopt the new features soon, though they should already show up for Google’s handful of launch partners.