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Chrome for Android seems to require no permission to download files and install web apps. Disabling storage permission does not prevent the browser from downloading the EICAR test file, and disabling app downloads does not prevent the installation of the Android Developers web app.

In further detail, installing the Android Developers web app seems to trigger a download with Google Play Services, but does not show up in the list of installed applications in Google Play. When attempting to access its page in Google Play through notifications, apparently it doesn't exist and shows an error has occurred.

I'm not sure whether this is an intended feature or if my device has been compromised.

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  • Are you referring to the Chrome feature to save a bookmark as app icon on the Android app launcher? If not please provide a link where "Android Developers web app" can be retrieved from.
    – Robert
    Aug 18, 2023 at 13:40
  • developer.android.com will show an install button as a popup, and if install is clicked chrome will download the app using google play services and install it on the device, with the aforementioned concerns that I have had. Aug 18, 2023 at 14:23
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    Interesting. This technique is called WebAPK and Chrome doesn't seem to need the usualy install app permission to install such an app. Note that the app is not downloaded but generated by Chrome locally. web.dev/webapks
    – Robert
    Aug 18, 2023 at 16:11

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What you see is referred to as PWA(Progressive Web App). The technology/feature is essentially to allow services provided by web sites to be launched and displayed as though they were individual apps. With the help from Chrome browser, web apps have their app icons displayed within home screen and may be uninstalled like Android apps. In essence PWAs are web pages hosted by full screen browser tabs which is why most PWAs rely on network connection to be fully functional.

Reference

Examples of Web apps

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