Chromebooks don’t come with a lot of apps out of the box. You’ll find Chrome, the Play Store, Gmail, and a selection of other Google apps and utilities on first boot. Google is considering expanding that list of pre-installed Chrome OS apps to include Google Meet and Google Chat, according to a pair of new feature flags.
As per 9to5Google who stumbled upon these feature flags:
These two feature flags read:
Default Chat web app
Default Meet web app
Google Meet is a popular service, used by businesses and consumers alike over the past year. It makes a lot of sense that Google is considering preinstalling it on Chrome OS, especially when one considers that Google Meet may eventually supplant Duo
Google Chat’s presence is a bit more inexplicable. Yes, Chat replaces Hangouts in theory, but it still remains targeted at businesses first and foremost. Google has Messages for consumers, at least that has been the messaging Google’s been sending for years. Even if Google does want to try and lure some users over, Chat remains as dull as dishwater in terms of appeal. With Chromebooks seeing high use in Education and the Enterprise, perhaps Google wants to make sure that users have everything they need out of the box.
As for why web apps and not the Android apps, Google still prefers ushering Chrome OS users to the web rather than local apps. Yes, native apps can do a lot and handle things like offline scenarios gracefully, but the web is the superior platform for services that require a persistent connection to be useful.
Do you use Google Meet and Chat? Let us know in the comments below.