Posted by Darin Fisher, VP Engineering, Chrome
Last week at the 4th annual Chrome Dev Summit, we were excited to share a glimpse of what’s possible with over 1,000 developers in person, and thousands more on the livestream. Each year this is a time to hear what developers have been building, share our vision for the future of the web platform, and celebrate what we love about the web...
Reach of the web
As we've talked about before, one of the superpowers of the web is its incredible reach. There are now more than two billion active Chrome browsers worldwide, with many more web users across other browsers. The majority of these users are now on mobile devices, bringing new opportunities for us to explore as an industry.
Mobile browsers also lead the way for the internet’s newest users. Exclusively accessing the internet from mobile devices, users in emerging markets struggle with limited computing power, unreliable networks, and expensive data. For these users, native apps can be a poor match due to their large data and storage requirements. And, it’s these constraints that have resulted in the developing markets leading the charge when it comes to innovating on the web.
Instead, the web can fill these needs for all users through an experience we've been calling Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). These web apps provide the performance users have come to expect from their device, while also offering critical capabilities such as offlining, add-to-homescreen, and push notifications. We've been encouraged by the strong adoption of these capabilities, with push notifications recently exceeding 18 billion notifications per day across 50,000 domains.
Last year when we spoke about PWAs, things were just getting started. Now we're seeing the movement in full swing, with many large sites across the globe launching great new apps and feeling the success that PWAs can bring.
Alibaba.com, built a PWA and saw a 76% increase in conversion rates across browsers. The investment in the mobile web increased monthly active user rates on iOS by 14 percent. On Android devices where re-engagement capabilities like push notifications and Add to Homescreen were enabled, active user rates increased by 30 percent.
Another great example is The Weather Channel. Since launching a PWA they achieved an 80% reduction in load time and within three months, saw almost 1 million users opt in to receive web push notifications.
During the Summit, we also heard from Lyft, who shared their experience of building a PWA in less than a month, and using less than a quarter of the engineering support needed to build their native app. Learn more about our how partners are using PWA technologies to enhance their mobile web experience.
What can you do?
We also have a variety of tools, libraries, and APIs available to help you bring the benefits of PWAs to your site. For example, Chrome's DevTools provides assistance along every step of the development flow. DevTools has a ton of new features to help you build great mobile apps, such as network simulation, CPU throttling, and a PWA audit tool powered by Lighthouse.
For developers just beginning their web app or looking to rework an existing one, the Polymer App Toolbox provides a set of components and tools for easily building a Progressive Web App using web components. And Polymer 2.0 is right around the corner, making it easy to take advantage of the new Web Components v1 APIs shipping cross-browser and build mobile web apps with minimal overhead.
Finally, checkout can be a complicated process to complete and in the retail sector alone there are 66% fewer conversions on mobile than on desktop. With PaymentRequest, you can now bring a seamless checkout experience to your website with support for both credit cards and Android Pay, increasing odds for conversion.
Finally, if you didn’t catch our live stream in real time, you can always check back on our YouTube channel for all the recordings or see the highlights from the event in 57 seconds.
Thanks for coming, thanks for watching, and most of all, thank you for developing for the web!