Chrome has offered the ability to “install” web apps to your computer for a while now, and the feature is also available on the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge. Now the Edge browser has an easier way to manage web apps, with more improvements on the way.
Microsoft Edge allows you to install web apps (as long as the web apps allow it), which then places them in the Start menu on Windows or the Applications folder on macOS. You could already manage or uninstall them later by opening the app, or searching for them in the Windows ‘Apps & features’ list, but Microsoft made the process easier with the Edge v101 update in April.
Microsoft Edge now has an Apps hub, which you can access from the main menu (click ‘Apps’ under the main Edge menu), or by pinning the Apps button to the toolbar. The hub is a quick-access panel for web apps you already have installed, and there’s a button for installing a site you have open. There’s also a larger Apps page (accessible from ‘Manage apps’ in the menu or
edge://apps), seen above.
Those features have already rolled out, but Microsoft has more on the way. The company is testing a new ‘Apps sync’ option, which will synchronize a list of web apps you have installed on any of your computers. It won’t actually install each web app across all your computers automatically, but it will give you a one-click install button for each app, which might be faster than finding them again on each computer.
The new Apps sync feature is available to try in the Microsoft Edge Beta (specifically version 102 and later), and it’s planned to roll out in the regular browser “over the coming months.”
These improvements come as Google and Microsoft have been working to integrate new APIs in their browsers, as part of Project Fugu (also known as the Web Capabilities Project). The effort has led to new capabilities for web apps, like limited file system access, badges on web app icons, reading and writing to the clipboard, and many other features that were only available to native apps in the past.
Not all of the recent changes to Microsoft Edge have been positive, though. Many people complained after Microsoft added an integrated “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) option when shopping online, essentially encouraging people to set up loan payments for purchases.
Source: Windows Blog