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Hands On With Chrome’s New App Launcher Folders Feature

Remember that nifty folder feature we told you was winging its way to Chrome’s App Launcher? Well, it’s landed in the latest dev builds of Chrome OS and Chrome on Windows – albeit hidden behind a flag. 

Fellow OMG! Chrome! writer Craig Tumblison went hands on with the feature a couple of days ago in the latest builds of Chromium OS.

Now – and I say this with my adult face on – what you see in the screenshots below is far from being complete. The feature remains subject to change between the day you read about it and the day it arrives enabled out of the box on Chrome OS stable.

‘Click on an app tile, drop it on another, and bam – insta-folder creation.’

Understood? Grand. On we go.

Craig describes the workflow of creating and managing app folders as ‘very appealing’, adding that effort to make the feature “as simple to use as possible” is evident throughout.

The flow is pretty much spot-on with the descriptions we relayed back in October. Click on an app tile, drop it on another, and bam – insta-folder creation.

Chrome OS Folder UI

Creating an App Folder Will Be Easy…

Clicking on a folder opens it up as a separate page, with a navigation button located for nudging back to the main grid. When inside a folder you can click on the title field to (re)name it to something more descriptive than the default label of ‘Unnamed Folder‘.

Untitled 43

…As Will Naming A Folder

Looking good so far, though I can’t help but find the icon generated for a folder in the list lacking finesse.

Try It Out For Yourself on Windows & Chrome OS

You don’t need a Chromebook (or a degree in computer science to get Chromium OS up and running) to try this feature out. It’s already ready to play with on the Canary channel of Chrome on Windows, and the Chrome OS Dev Channel version 33.0.1712.3 and up.

  • Open a new tab
  • Enter: chrome://flags
  • Find ‘Enable the app list folder’ flag
  • Click ‘Enable’
  • Click ‘Relaunch Chrome/OS’ 
  • It looks like Chrome OS and Android are starting to share some common ground.

    Me likey.

    • Mathspy

      Maybe mixing them sloooooowly?

  • morcheeba

    Very cool. Looking forward to this update.

  • almo

    bleeding edge…? how long did it take to make something that enables folders? chrome os is really starting to disappoint. Some sites don’t even recognize it as a real browser but rather as a mobile browser. Another overhaul update is needed to cover a lot of the systems much needed support all across the os. If Google spends half the energy on Chrome os that they do on Android, Chromebooks would have been real competitors to Mackbooks and Windows PC. And if they merged just the app stores well i’ll let you decide what can happen

    • I think you’ve misunderstood. I called Chromium OS bleeding edge; bleeding edge in technology terms means ‘incorporating [code] so new that [it] could have a high risk of being unreliable". That's Chromium OS to a tee. Development and features that happen there don't pass through the same checks as on Chrome/OS stable, dev, canary or beta.

      See this article for more on the differences:

      Also don't confuse the ability to create folders in the app launcher as that of making folders in the file manager. I'm sure you didn't, but just incase: Chrome OS has been able to do that for a long time.

      As for your problem that "Some sites don't even recognize it as a real browser but rather as a mobile browser" - Well, I imagine that this is is down to an extension or app causing issues. Chrome OS is Chrome. It's in every way identical to the regular, desktop browser (give or take system-specific stuff, but that's lessening with the advance of Aura). No website should 'see' Chrome on Chrome OS as anything different to Chrome on Windows, or Mac or Linux.

  • ken147

    FYI: The Chrome Dev channel has the same option too. Just enable “Enable the app list folder.” in about:flags.

  • Sam Ruston

    I’m on the latest Chrome OS dev channel and the flag isn’t there. Any ideas?

    • Misc

      Use Chrome Canary

  • Kenny Strawn

    Still not seeing… and yup, on the dev channel AND up-to-date (I’m pretty sure 4920.8.0::32.0.1700.12 is up-to-date; definitely not seeing any updates installing even after repeatedly refreshing the chrome://chrome page…)

  • spike112311

    on chromebook, seems once you create a folder it disappears when you clock off the launcher. any ideas?

  • It look like Android. Good!


    Chrome is the most easy web browser i mean. Because i find lot of facilities in this. I see there are many internet users like to use chrome as their default browser.