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Google releases Chrome 70, letting you install PWAs on Windows 10

Progressive Web Apps are a big priority for Google right now, and have also been seen as one of the ways for Microsoft to combat the shortage of apps on its store. With its newest release of Chrome, Google is bringing progressive web apps to the desktop.

As the company's Pete LePage explains in a video introducing Chrome 70 to developers, progressive web apps can now be installed on Windows directly. This means that if you are using a PWA on Chrome, as long as the app meets certain basic criteria for PWAs, you should start seeing a prompt that allows you to install it on Windows.

The app will then show up in the Start Menu and pretty much work like you'd expect a native app made for Windows to function. It can also serve up notifications using the Action Centre now that Google has added support for native Windows 10 notifications in Chrome.

The apps will run in their own Chrome window, but won't feature an address bar or any of the normal UI for Chrome, meaning they will visually look very similar to a native app, and not at all like a browser window.

Windows is not the only OS slated to receive PWA support via Chrome; Linux and macOS will get the same functionality in Chrome 72.

Alongside PWA support, the updated version of the browser expands the credential management API to support public key credentials. In essence, this can allow sites to use things like your fingerprint as an additional security measure for two-factor authentication, alongside improving web security in general.

Alongside these technical improvements, Google is also living up to its promise of allowing you to disable automatic sign-ins to the browser after the browser started doing so with Chrome 69. The option to do so can be found under the 'Allow Chrome sign-in' option in the privacy and security settings. It also makes changes to the UI to make it clearer to the user whether their data is being synced to Google's servers when they are logged in.

The update is now rolling out to users, and you can manually check for the update by clicking on the menu (three dots) button in the top right, going to help and selecting the 'About Google Chrome' option. The browser should now automatically check for updates and download them for you.

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