Microsoft is turning its Outlook.com and Outlook for the Web mail services into Progressive Web Apps (PWA). This allows any Outlook user to install the web app into Windows, macOS, Chrome OS, and other platforms that natively support PWAs. It’s a useful alternative to the cluttered Outlook Windows desktop app or the Windows Mail client that ships as part of Windows 10.
PWAs, by their nature, are essentially still websites, but they include better caching, notification features, and background functionality to make them appear more like traditional apps. Microsoft has been slowly adopting PWAs for Windows apps since last year, and Outlook is a sign that we may see similar apps for the company’s other Office products like Word and Excel.
If you’re using a Chromium browser like Chrome or Brave, then the Outlook.com support is live right now. You can simply “install” Outlook.com from the address bar, and it will be treated as if it’s a native app in Windows or macOS.
Microsoft is also experimenting with bringing Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar support to Outlook.com. The software maker confirmed to The Verge last week that it’s “experimenting with a small set of Outlook.com users” for the integration.