How to test drive the exciting new Chrome OS Productivity Launcher

If you’re not happy with the default Chromebook menu / app launcher, there are experimental options on the development channel that you can try. Jack Warren explains how to do that.

Image: iStockphoto / Savusia Konstantin

Chromebooks love the cloud, and Google has put a lot of effort into making the intersection of hardware and cloud seamless. This does not mean that you cannot enjoy the traditional approach to interfaces.

It’s the app menu that has plagued me with Chrome OS for some time. Google has always wanted to force more mobile interfaces on users who are probably more at home with a proven true desktop metaphor. So when Google made fun of the possible new “productivity launcher”, I was all ears.

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Before we continue, we need to know that Productivity Launcher is currently only available on Chrome OS development channels. Therefore, you cannot test the Productivity Launcher if you are using a channel other than dev. For information on how to change ChromeOS channels How to change your Chromebook channel reading.

This new launcher gives you easy access to shortcuts, content, device settings and more. It’s also laid out like a traditional desktop menu, making it much easier for most people to use. In fact, once you taste this launcher, you’ll wonder why Google didn’t adopt it the way it is today.

Now let’s see how to enable Productivity Launcher.

Things necessary

As mentioned earlier, you need a Chromebook running the development channel. Other than that, it just enables the feature.

How to enable the productivity launcher

Log in to your Chromebook and launch Chrome. In the omnibar (also known as the address bar), type:


In the result window (Figure A), Click the dropdown associated with the productivity experiment: App Launcher.

Figure A

Productivity launchera.jpg

Enable the experimental app launcher on Chrome OS.

After that, you will be asked to restart your Chromebook. Run it and log in again. After successfully logging in, click the menu button in the lower left corner of your desktop to bring up the new launcher (Figure B).

Figure B

Productivity launcherb.jpg

Experimental productivity launcher behavior.

With this new launcher, you can launch any app, open saved files and search for almost anything.

For all user types, we are confident that this new launcher will be much more efficient than what Google currently offers. Hopefully, those who make Chrome OS decisions will agree and will make this experiment the default in the near future.

If you’ve tried this and don’t like it, follow the same steps to enable it and from the dropdown[無効]You can always get it back by simply selecting and restarting your Chromebook.

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