Google will soon upgrade the web apps by adding tabbed display mode/interface i.e. tabs to the web apps on Windows 11, Windows 10 and other desktop platforms. The company dropped the hint of the feature in a bug post archived in 2018 and it now plans to prototype the idea, according to a document spotted by us.
Google wants web apps to be as powerful as possible, and one way it does that is by making multitasking easier. All browsers have tabs and it would make sense if web apps also support tabs. Google believes that the tabbed view mode in web apps allows you to access several features of the PWA without leaving the primary window.
This can make copying, uploading, and navigating much easier than current web apps, where you have to rely on a web browser or other apps to perform certain tasks. With the current implementation, when you click a link in a web app, the web app loses focus and users are redirected to a browser.
With a ‘tab’ interface or display, Google believes it is possible to exhibit behavior similar to a regular browser window. For example, tabs in web apps allow you to open multiple documents from an index page.
Google is exploring support for a new “tab” display mode and a new “tab_strip” variable in a new manifest that enables web apps.
“Currently, in a self-contained window, PWAs can only have one page open at a time. Some apps expect users to have many pages open at once. Tabbed mode adds a tab strip to standalone web apps that allows multiple tabs to be opened at once,” Google noted in a document†
In the above code, the “home tab” refers to the primary or pinned tab of the web app that always opens when you launch the web app. Clicking a link within this pinned tab or home page will take you to a new tab. The new manifest field makes it possible to customize the tab strip, the company said.
Google says “apps can choose to customize the URL this tab is locked to and the icon displayed on the tab”.
In addition, user agents can decide where to handle these tabs to create new windows or combine them with browser tabs.
This feature can be especially useful for productivity apps that allow editing multiple documents at once and that have a home tab, ie a home page. For example, Office for Windows comes with a home page and links to the documents and other features.
Likewise, Google’s web apps with a tabbed interface can use the home tab as a menu to open existing files, which would then all open in their own tab.
According to a post on Google’s Chromium discussion forumGoogle will be adding this feature to the browser soon, and users can test it with a new “enable-desktop-pwas-tab-strip” flag.
In addition to improvements to the web app, Google Chrome is also getting modern scroll bars on Windows 11 and Windows 10.