Along with site notifications, the latest Chrome Beta v42 has another new feature for improving the web app experience. The ability to add a website to your home screen from Chrome has been there for a while now, but not all web pages are created equal in this regard. These shortcuts work best for fully-fledged web apps and now Chrome will let you know when you have visited a good candidate for home screen placement.

To get an idea of how it works, check out this GIF from HTML5 Rocks:


Perhaps the most important aspect of this feature is that it will not appear every time you visit a qualifying site. You will be prompted when the following apply:

  • You have visited the website twice, on two separate days
  • Both of your previous visits occurred in the past two weeks
  • You have not dismissed the prompt in the past

Basically, this won't be like the "Install Tapatalk!" pop-ups you see on many other sites. Once it has been dismissed, it will not show up again unless you clear your history and visit it twice again. Of course, you don't need the prompt to add it to your home screen; you can just do it from the menu as in past versions of Chrome.

Not all sites will generate this prompt, even if the user has gone through the process of visiting twice. It must be a genuine web app with a corresponding manifest. Likewise, it must have a service worker and be served over HTTPS. A service worker is already necessary for other native-like app features, such as notifications. The web developer will decide whether, when accessed from the home screen, the web app appears within a Chrome tab or in full-screen.

If you want to test for yourself, check out the event page for Google I/O 2015. Once added to your home screen, it will open up like a native app.