Google Progressive Web Apps 2018 – The Future Is Here
You’ll hardly be surprised by hearing that modern digital world relies heavily on mobile technologies. You’ve seen Google penalizing websites for not being responsive. You’ve installed and used at least a handful of mobile apps, don’t you? If you answer ‘yes’ to these questions, you’re a part of the ‘browsing-on-the-go’ generation, which actively consumes the technological advances of the previous years. However, people quickly get used to improvements and advances and ask for more. Here comes the question: ‘What will be the next technology that shakes the mobile world?’ In 2018, we probably know the answer, as the potential of Google Progressive Web Apps is staggering. They’ve already made it to the lists of most-awaited web development trends 2018 and keep gaining momentum.
So, carry on with us if you want to learn more about PWAs and the impact they’re likely to have on mobile and web experience of humanity.
Before you wrap your head around Google Progressive Web Apps and their future, let us quickly map out the roadmap of the upcoming journey for you. First, you’ll learn what PWAs are and in which ways they fuse the existing technologies to coin a new-gen experience. Next, we’ll brush over the draws that underpin the potential of Progressive Web Apps. Finally, we’ll look into different pathways that the further development of PWAs can take, distilling the takeaways from our plausible predictions.
Fasten your seatbelt. Our exciting PWA tour starts right now!
Behind the Scenes of PWA Inception
Android Market, the predecessor of Google Play, saw its inception back in 2008. This event was a ground zero for the whole new era of native mobile apps. Currently, there are more than 3.5 millions of mobile apps ready for downloading on this platform only.
However, we’re here not to tell you how great the whole concept of mobile apps appeared back then. We’re here to admit that even the much-loved mobile apps have their downsides that may cause their downfall in the future.
First of all, it takes app developers painstaking efforts to connect users to a native mobile application. Look, they have to present the app to a user and form an intention to download the app. Then, the user travels to an app store, finds the app and downloads it. That’s not it. Then, the user often has to sing up to get access to full app functionality. All this takes time and users get lost on their way from the initial desire to try out the app to actually using it.
This is a simplified version of what it takes to enjoy a native mobile app. In fact, it oftentimes takes more manipulations on part of the user than this image suggests.
Secondly, to reach the audience, apps have to be published in App Store, Google Play and other popular native app markets. This puts the additional strain on app team by adding the extra effort spent on the continuous interaction with a number of intermediaries. Thirdly, native apps eat up mobile device storage and can make a mess out of its home screen. Users should be truly convinced that they need this or that app to spend their time on getting all the way through to the desired experience. What’s more, sharing is another weak point of native mobile apps. Modern users are used to sharing what they like. However, they can’t just share the app link. They can only share the app name and doom the users they share it with to the new cycle of getting the app turmoil.
The weak spots of mobile apps formed the need for a new technology that exterminates these drawbacks. Such a technology was proposed by Google back in 2015, coming by the name of Progressive Web Apps. This technology was supposed to get rid of all the main imperfections of native mobile apps, at the same time maintaining the great functionality and features that native apps bring. By now, the vision proposed by Google got its incarnation and works the way that it brings all the best of mobile apps and websites together.
What’s a PWA?
Simply put, PWAs are web-based applications. They are the amalgamation of the best from mobile apps and web technologies. The experience they deliver is very close to mobile apps. At the same time, the way you access a progressive application is similar to web pages. For you to get it all right, let’s break down what Google Progressive Web Apps are into the web and app parts.
Progressive Web Apps are similar to websites for a number of reasons:
- Firstly, no installation is needed. Similarly to a website, every PWA has a URL. To access the PWA users just have to paste the URL into their browser address bar and press ‘Enter’.
- Secondly, PWAs are responsive and cross-browser compatible. They bridge the gap between different devices and deliver a consistent user experience.
- Thirdly, sharing PWAs is as simple as sharing a website link. One click and your friend makes a test drive of the new progressive application.
- Next, every page of a PWA has its own shareable URL. So, you can refer any page of the PWA the way it works for website pages.
- What’s more, PWAs are served over HTTPS protocol, bringing a more secure experience to users.
- Last but not least, search engines index PWAs the way they index regular websites. This gives you a chance to boost your app’s discoverability by following the SEO guidelines of search engines.
All this sounds pretty promising if you take into consideration that Google Progressive Web Apps are apps. Now, let’s see in what ways PWAs are similar to native mobile apps.
- PWAs borrow UI and UX from mobile apps. They are impressively fast, reliable and engaging.
- Next, PWAs don’t need a constant network connection to work the way they should. Thanks to pre-caching, users can enjoy the PWA experience even offline.
- Then, users can create a PWA shortcut on their device. If they go for this, it will take just one tap to launch the progressive app.
- Finally, Progressive Web Apps can automatically send push notifications to users in order to re-engage them. Websites don’t do this trick.
We hope you got it: ‘the best of mobile apps’ + ‘the best of websites’ = ‘Google Progressive Web Apps’. As a result, you get the double-sized handful of advantages and none of the predecessors’ limitations. The table below does a great job illustrating this point:
Benefits of Going For a PWA
As you can see, the growing PWAs’ popularity has a sound ground for it. Studies predict that Google Progressive Web Apps will impact mobile app strategies of many businesses in 2018. Maybe you’ll be one of them? If you’re not sure whether going for a PWA is worth it, study the list of PWA benefits presented below.
If you go for a progressive app, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it loads. Heavy and resource-intensive mobile apps take a while to load. On the contrary, PWAs load in a jiffy thanks to the powerful caching system. The technology that underlies PWAs caches texts, imagery, stylesheets and other PWA elements to provide for app functioning with bad or no Internet connection. The same caching system loads the PWA in a matter of a second or two when the connection is good.
Trouble-free First Run
It takes a while to install and run a mobile app for the first time. Many users ditch on the way and never learn what’s inside your app. If you switch to Google Progressive Web Apps, your app will be available at the tap of a user’s finger. Make your target audience happy with no more waits, ‘downloads running’ and ‘apps being installed’…
If you go for a PWA, updating it is as simple as updating a website. You don’t have to wait for an app store to approve the update. And, most importantly, users that drop by your website after the update see the new PWA version right away.
With PWAs, there’re no intermediaries between you and your audience. All the interaction that takes place is direct. No need to care for Google Play / App Store presentation of your app. No one counts and rates it. If users don’t like the experience you provide, they just leave.
Google Progressive Web Apps are indexed as fast as regular websites. No deep linking is needed for your app to appear in Google’s search results.
Unified User Experience
PWAs are platform agnostic, meaning that users use the same progressive application, no matter whether they have an Android, iOS or Windows device. As all users access the same app, by improving your PWA you target 100% of the user pool and make the improvements more tangible. You know that all users across the globe get the same PWA experience, which alleviates the burden of developing and constantly improving your native apps for different platforms.
Bounce Rate Goes Down, Page Views Go Up
Your lightning-fast, user-friendly and easily accessible PWA is a bounty for all the app fatigue infected users. They stay and fall in love with it.
Increased app speed leads to improved performance and higher conversion rates. Search engines also reward your PWA if it does well in terms of speed. This leads to better discoverability, growing number of unique visits and higher conversion rate.
As you can see, with a PWA you yield the most-wanted benefits for both website and mobile app owners. This is a sound reason to consider investing into a PWA to enjoy higher revenues from now on. If your competitors are not so innovative, they’ll turn green with envy seeing your business making it up a notch.
Google Progressive Web Apps Pioneers: Case Studies
We’ve named the major advantages and draws of PWAs. However, we feel that some of you may be hungry for something more tangible. Why don’t we talk about the companies that have already launched their first progressive applications? Let’s see how well they’re doing.
Twitter launched its PWA (named Twitter Lite) last year. By the advent of 2018, they enjoyed the 65% increase in pages viewed per session and the 20% bounce rate decrease. What’s more, the Tweet number grew by 75%, which is just impressive. Well done!
Flipkart’s native app was damn heavy. The company continuously faced high uninstall rates until they went for a lightweight PWA that currently drives as much as 50% of their new clients in.
Trivago hotel search system enjoyed increased user engagement soon after launching their PWA. This led to a 97% boost in click-outs to hotel offers.
Petlove team hardly regrets investing their time and effort in PWA creation. Now, they enjoy 2,8x conversion boost and a similar increase of the time users spend on their website.
The team of Lancôme got a solid conversion boost when they launched their PWA. However, these were the push notifications that surprised them with their effectiveness. 18% of the customers receiving the notification opened up their website, 12% recovered their carts and 8%actually made a purchase. Amazing stats!
If you want to dig deeper into PWA stats and case studies, check this community-driven list of PWA stats. For others, who want to eye-witness successful PWAs in action, we’ve got an extensive list of PWAs that rock. So, now you know what PWAs are and in what way businesses make it up a notch with them.
Currently, PWA technologies are far from reaching their peak and develop at the increasingly rapid pace. You may be wondering if they’ll supplant native mobile apps or coexist with them. In the next part of this article, we take a sneak peek into the yet-unknown future of PWAs to fully understand the potential of this technology.
What Future of PWAs Can We Foresee Today?
While Google Progressive Web Apps trend is still in its early stages, denying the impact it already has is impossible. This year the number of PWAs will grow rapidly and we’ll be able to evaluate their effectiveness more precisely.
What can we predict now? In fact, opinions differ. Some say that the prevalence of PWAs will grow exponentially and fully supplant native mobile apps by 2019 or 2020. Others say that such claims are high-blown. No doubt, PWA technologies develop rapidly and the share of mobile web apps in mobile user experiences grows. However, it’s unlikely that they’ll fully replace the native mobile apps that currently populate the screens of our smartphones so actively.
Two Parts of the Whole
One of the most probable envisions of the future of mobile apps tells us that progressive apps and native mobile apps will co-exist and complement each other. This approach is dubbed ‘hybrid’. For the businesses that have already heavily invested in native mobile app marketing and development, it means that their effort won’t be compromised. For others, who are up to invest in mobile experiences this year, this means that they’ll have a chance to leverage the two (native apps and PWAs) and find their unique strategy of conquering the mobile market.
With hybrid approach in mind, it’s probable that many companies will offer both sides of the mobile experience. They’ll launch an accessible PWA to let people tap into their mobile experiences with ease. At the same time, they’ll invest in the development of performance-rich, heavier native apps that beat PWAs in immersion and richness of functionality.
Such a strategy is beneficial for a number of reasons. In line with it, PWAs will be used to attract new app adepts. As it takes just one click to open up the PWA, a greater number of potential users will give it a try and use it with no investment of their time into downloading it. When users get the hang of the PWA, it’s simpler to convince them to go for a native mobile app to tap into the richer experience and more in-depth features.
One more advantage of this strategy is that it lets companies take their time gradually gathering mobile presence momentum. As PWAs are quick-to-market and comparatively low-cost, companies may opt for launching them within a short period of time. While the PWA is up and growing in popularity, the team can take their time developing a rich native mobile app experience. In this case, they’ll hit high download rates within a short period of time after launching the native mobile application.
It’s also likely that this year we’ll see an influx of alternative PWA uses. You’ll see PWAs adding fun to fundraising campaigns, serving as landings for new products, etc. All the potential of PWAs is yet to be explored. So, we’ll see where Google progressive web apps drive us in the near future.
Google Progressive Web APPs: Summing up!
The downsides of existing technologies make people search for new ways to deliver better experiences. The weak points of native mobile apps shaped and polished the concept of the next-gen apps, i.e. PWAs. In 2018, PWAs will win new markets and impact mobile strategies on a global scale.
The takeaway from here is that you should take Progressive Web Applications seriously. Consider the ways in which your mobile presence can benefit from Google progressive web apps potential. Become the first mover. First-movers always get the full out of the new trends. The icing on the cake is theirs. So, why don’t you join in while your competitors lag behind?
All in all, we wish you good luck in powering a cutting-edge mobile experience this year! What’s more, we anticipate hearing your opinion about the future of PWAs in the Comments section below.