Delivering Any Windows App as a Progressive Web App (PWA) in Chrome

“Since the beginning of 2021, desktop PWA installs have grown by 270%. This growth has also paired with increasing app usage on Chromebooks by over 190% in the same period⁠. When you combine PWA growth with the increasing adoption of Chromebooks — which grew 92% YOY in 2020 to become the second-highest-selling desktop computer of the year — it has never been easier for developers to reach and engage users with amazing web experiences.” – Google, in a recent announcement.

As the stats above illustrate, Chromebook adoption is on the rise as more organizations realize the benefits of Chrome OS as a faster, simpler, and far more secure platform. And when you pair Chrome OS devices with Virtual App Delivery (VAD) solutions like Cameyo, which gives your people access to all of their Windows apps from within any Google Chrome browser/Chromium browser – your people get ultra-secure access to all of the apps & data they need to be productive.

And while giving your people access to the full desktop version of any app from their web browser of choice makes it simple for people to securely work from anywhere and any device, many people still want the familiar user experience of simply clicking an app icon in their taskbar/tray and having the app launch as if they were installed locally.

Which leads us to Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and their explosive growth.

PWAs are web applications or websites that can be installed on users’ devices regardless of operating system (Chrome OS, Microsoft Windows, MacOS, Linux – even mobile OS’s like Android and iOS). Once PWAs are installed, these apps look and perform just like native applications that can be accessed in their taskbar, and they’re easy to add to home screen/the user’s shelf.

Here at Cameyo, we’ve always been committed to giving the end-user the most powerful, simple, and secure access to the apps & data they need from our ultra-secure Cloud Desktops. And to give Chromebook users the most native experience possible, today we rolled out Cameyo Progressive Web App (PWA) capabilities to all customers, enabling users to access any Windows app on any device just as if it were installed locally. We also announced an integration with Google Admin console, which enables IT to force install and pin apps to users’ Chromebook taskbar. This enables users to simply click the app icon in their taskbar to launch an app in its own window, rather than launching the app in a browser tab. 

Making Virtual App Delivery Invisible for End Users

“Virtual App Delivery (VAD) has already gained significant traction as a simpler, more secure, and less complicated way to deliver apps to people regardless of where they’re located or what device they’re using by making the full desktop version of any app available in the browser,” said Mark Bowker, Senior Analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). “Cameyo’s ability to deliver any app as a PWA takes things one step further and makes VAD invisible to the end-user.” 

Cameyo pioneered Virtual App Delivery (VAD), which gives organizations the ability to deliver any Windows application to any device from the browser. The end user gets access to the full desktop version of their apps, and those apps simply run in a browser tab instead of needing to be installed on each user’s device. Our launch of Cameyo PWAs provides all the security and simplicity of delivering apps from the browser with Cameyo, but with the added benefit of making those apps seem native – as if they were installed on the device – to the end user. 

Instead of opening a browser tab to access their apps, with Cameyo PWAs users can simply click the app icon from their Chrome OS shelf or Chromebook taskbar, and the app runs in its own window, just as a locally-installed app would. And with Cameyo, every Windows app can be delivered as a Cameyo PWA session – even if that app does not have a PWA version itself. 

Enabling IT to Push Apps to Users in Minutes

Cameyo’s integration with Google Admin console enables IT teams to publish apps in Cameyo and then push those apps to users’ Chrome OS devices – based on roles or groups profiles – within minutes. To see a real-time example of how an app can be pushed to user devices in just two minutes, see this video

Superior User Experience Meets Simpler, More Powerful IT Control

Virtual App Delivery has long been the most secure way to give employees access to all of the apps and data they need to be productive, and VAD already eliminates the cost and complexity of traditional Windows virtual desktops. VAD has also provided SaaS access to any app – including legacy Windows apps – on any device, from the browser. Cameyo PWAs combine a seamless user experience with powerful IT management for a solution that simplifies everyone’s lives.  

“Our implementation of Cameyo PWAs evolves the user experience from a SaaS-like experience to a native application experience – to the point that users wouldn’t know that their apps aren’t installed locally on their device. Better yet, this seamless user experience doesn’t come at the expense of making IT’s life more difficult. The natural user experience is matched by incredibly powerful IT management tools designed to put even more power and control into IT’s hands,” said Eyal Dotan, Founder and CTO at Cameyo.  

Key Benefits of Cameyo PWAs

Cameyo PWAs provide organizations with the following benefits:

  • Ultimate Flexibility – Apps delivered as Cameyo PWAs work for every user, and are responsive on any form factor (desktop, mobile, tablet, etc.).

  • Native App Experience – Users interact with Cameyo PWA apps as if they were installed locally on their device, with nothing new to learn. 

  • Ultra Secure – Cameyo’s Virtual App Delivery (VAD) platform is built with a Zero Trust security model at its core, reducing an organization’s attack surface and protecting their network & data while providing seamless access to apps. 

  • Powerful Simplicity – IT can push apps to users’ devices in a matter of minutes while having complete control over who has access. IT can also update apps from the Cameyo Admin console and know that the latest and greatest version is instantly available to all users (no more updating across all systems individually). 

“We’ve been a Cameyo VAD customer for a couple of years, and we didn’t think it could be more simple to deploy apps to our users,” said Jeremy Venlet, Network Engineer, Royal Technologies. “Not only does Cameyo PWA integrate seamlessly into Google Admin console to enable our team to deploy apps in minutes, but it makes it even easier for our users to find and launch their apps. Cameyo was already our secret weapon for enabling productive, secure access to any app on Chromebooks – and now it’s even more powerful.”

See Cameyo PWAs in Action:

Here are the step-by-step instructions for how to install progressive web apps and pin any Windows app as a PWA, as shown in the video:

Within your browser of choice (Google Chrome, Chromium, Safari, Firefox, Edge, etc.), log into the Cameyo platform. (Or start by signing up for a free trial here).

First, within the Cameyo platform select the app you want to publish as a PWA, then copy the Cameyo URL for that published app.

Then, switch over to your Google Admin console and select: Devices > Chrome > Apps & Extensions > then Users & Browsers. 

Under Users & Browsers you’ll find, then click the plus sign in the lower right corner. 

Next, click on the Globe icon to “Add by URL”, then paste in the Cameyo URL for the app. 

In the drop-down menu below defining where the app should open, select “Separate Window”, then hit “Save.”

Back in Google Admin under “Installation policy”, select “Force Install and Pin to Chrome OS Taskbar,” then hit “Save” in the upper right. 

Go to your ChromeOS shelf, and within a few seconds, you’ll see your application arrive on the Shelf, and you’ll also see it appear down in your Taskbar. 

And just like that, you’ve pushed an app to your users’ Taskbar! 

Now, let’s take a look at how easy it is for users to pin PWAs to the Chrome Taskbar themselves. 

From within their Cameyo Cloud Desktop, they simply need to select the “ i ” button for the app they’d like to Pin. 

After a moment a download icon will appear in their browser’s address bar.

Simply click that icon, and select “Install.”

A confirmation screen will appear, confirming that the app was installed. The user can then go to the Shelf to find the app. 

Right click on the App, and select “Pin to Shelf”, and the App now appears in the Taskbar. 

From there, the user simply clicks the App icon to launch the app just as if it was installed locally, and it launches the full desktop version of the App in its own window, just like an installed app. 

Cameyo’s PWA capabilities and integration with Google Admin gives IT the power to simply & securely push apps to their users’ Chromebooks within minutes, while also giving users the best possible experience by accessing any Windows app on their Chromebooks just as if it was installed locally.   

(NOTE: Apps are just as easy to uninstall, and users can even do that directly. PWAs do require connectivity, so not all features of every app will be available offline. Also, apps can be accessed on all mobile devices without requiring an Android app version and without requiring the Google Play store/app store.)

Cameyo is Chrome Enterprise Recommended 

Cameyo’s introduction of PWAs our announcement two weeks ago that Google has certified Cameyo as just the third Chrome Enterprise Recommended partner for virtualization globally. Chrome Enterprise Recommended is Google’s partner program for third-party solutions that are validated to meet technical and support standards for Chrome OS. To become a Chrome Enterprise Recommended partner, Cameyo worked extensively with Google to extend its solution’s functionality, quality, security, and end-user experience.