Some sharp-eyed people have found strings of code in the Chrome OS source that give clues about the arrival of Google Play Store in the operating software.
Chrome OS users have been able to run Android apps for some time now, but they can get these apps only from the Chrome Web Store. This new development suggests that those who are using Chrome OS may soon have the ability to use apps or play with games that can be found in the Google Play Store.
This discovery was first discussed in the Chrome OS subreddit, wherein some users are puzzling over an option that pops up when they open the settings. The option, which reads “”Enable Android apps to run on your Chromebook”, disappears after a few seconds, which means that users don’t get the chance to click the confirmation.
One Reddit user named “TheWiseYoda” pored through the source code of the Chrome OS and discovered several strings of code that pointed to Google Play. One of the strings mentioned “ARC”, which most likely refers to App Runtime for Chrome. This project, which was launched on September 2015, paved the way for Android apps to work in Chrome OS.
The source code also contains the phrases “Description of the opt-in dialog for Android apps” and “Choose from over a million apps and games on Google Play to install and use on your <ph name=”DEVICE_TYPE”>$1<ex>Chromebook</ex>”.
It’s important to note that these strings are buried deep in the Chrome OS source code, which means that the availability of Google Play Store in Chrome OS may not happen soon. But, if it would happen, it would bring about generally positive results. For one thing, it will make Chromebooks more valuable since users can access thousands of apps through it. Chromebooks already have many fans because of their relatively low prices, and the ability to support Android apps will make them even more popular.
However, it would mean that the Chrome Web Store would become less popular and may even be scrapped altogether in the future. Right now it has already fallen behind the Google Play Store; it doesn’t have any prepaid gift cards, and it supports payments only in 36 countries (the Google Play Store supports in more than a hundred). The only thing that sets it apart from the Play Store is the themes and extensions that users can download to personalize their browsers.
As of this writing, Google has not released an official statement about this issue. However, many industry experts expect the tech giant to talk about this development in its I/O conference in May.