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Chrome OS 35 Beta Brings App Folders, New Window Controls and Ok Google

The latest update to the Google Chrome OS Beta channel, version 35, brings App Launcher folders to the desktop by default.

Not that the feature is earth-shatteringly new or unexpected, of course. Support for creating and arranging applications into custom directories has been loitering around in the development channel and flag pages for a while now. But it’s only in this latest update that the feature has been turned on by default for beta users.

app list folders

App Launcher Folders on Chrome OS – Now in Beta

Creating folders is as straightforward as you’d hope: click-drag an application icon on top of another and a folder housing both is automatically created. More apps can be dragged and dropped into it.

Removing an item is also easy: click on the folder housing the app, find the item you want to remove and ‘tear’ it out of, and away from, the launcher. The folder will (replete with slick animation) exit to the main grid where you can then place the item.

Aura builds of Chrome on Windows and Linux are to gain support for folder creation/management in their respective app launchers in the near future, including syncing of contents, names and preferences. It’s not yet clear how, or if, the feature will be handled on Mac OS X. 

Window controls

Organisational offerings to one side, this beta reintroduces the much-missed ‘minimise’ window control button to application frames. The various decisions given to justify its removal never quite felt right, so seeing it put back shows that Google developers do listen to what users want.

In addition, to ‘snap’ a window the edge of your screen just long-press the ‘maximise’ button and click on (or pull towards) the left and right arrows that appear.


Elsewhere, Ok Google hot word detection has been reenabled in the App Launcher; while pesky captive portals – those annoying sign-in pop-ups that appear when connecting to WiFi networks in cafes, hotels, train stations, and the like – are now properly detected by Chrome OS, helping you get online quicker.

While you can’t see them, there are also the usual slew of under-the-hood bug fixes, security updates and performance improvements to benefit from.

Google Chrome 35 Beta is being pushed out to all Chrome devices, including the Samsung Series 3 and HP 11 Chromebooks, from today.

Want to jump aboard the beta channel? See our guide for a full how-to. 

  • Not sure if this is a placebo effect, but it feels much faster on the Samsung Chromebook Series 3.

    • Boothy

      I think it’s much faster too, on both the Series 5 CB, and the chromebox.

  • David

    Sounds like a great update! Folders will be great, and the WiFi network portal detection is even better, especially for someone as on-the-go as me. I’ve hated having to jump through hoops to get to the right pages.

  • Wally Arms

    Hopefully the App Folders will make it through a restart :-) (I have had them turned on in flags for a while now but they disappear when the device is restarted). I haven’t got the version 35 beta update yet, we’ll see.

    • Wally Arms

      I have received the version 35 beta update on my Chromebooks (still waiting on the Chromebox) and the folders do persist after a restart.

  • Roland

    I’ve had Folders for a while via the Dev Channel (Chrome OS), but don’t tend to give them much use for some reason. Will have to give them a try just to tidy up my Google Drive/Docs apps.

    Would like to see the ability to create your own Windowed Apps from web pages in Chrome OS like you can do in the Chrome web browser though.

  • Cameron Wright

    I quite liked the “no minimize button” if you want it back to the way it was disable it in flags #ash-alternative-caption-button. Then it requires just a mouse over on the maximize button to snap to sides.

  • Boothy

    And on Chrome 35 on Windows the #apps-use-native-frame has been restricted to Macs, so now we get crap looking packaged apps on windows. Yay!

    • MrMiketheripper

      Don’t they look okay on Windows 8? Because they use the 8 button styling.

      • Boothy

        No, since this flag has been disabled (to allow use of W8 styling) they just look like a white rectangle plonked on the screen. No thin grey line marking the edge of the app, no shadow effects, nothing.
        If you have open over a word doc for example, you can’t see where the app ends.
        Frankly they just look amateurish to be honest.

        • MrMiketheripper

          Yeah, I see what you’re saying now. Hopefully they re-allow this soon.

          • Boothy

            Yeah, I’m hoping it’s just a bug, or a short lived omission.
            When using windows I tend to stick to chrome platform (continuity of experience), but this just makes it pretty horrible.

  • moe

    Folders should have been available a long time ago, now how about making something that retrieves deleted documents on a chrome book, (ones that are downloaded)

  • Folders sounds great, can’t wait until they filter down to Stable.

    If anyone who has the beta and created folders, can you please check this: Do folders survive a powerwash? Meaning, are they synced to your Google Account? If not, that would be a nifty feature. :)

  • Droid in Oregon

    Is there a setting that needs to be enabled for hotword detection in the app launcher? I’m on V35 Beta on a Pixel, and the mic is grayed out in both the app launcher and the new tab page. Hotword does work on the Google homepage though.

  • Christopher Woodhouse

    I just enabled both, and it’s awesome! Only hiccup, the folders only allow a certain number of apps per folder (also they’re slippery, ie they seem to ‘run away’ from you when you try to drag apps inside). The ‘Ok Google’ feature is amazingly convenient (though I also wish it did more than search like it does on Android).