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Google Just Changed The App Launcher Icon in Chrome OS

new chromebook app launcher icon

The new app launcher icon

An all-new Chrome OS App Launcher icon has appeared in the latest development channel release. 

As spotted by Anjo Cerdeña (whose screenshot we’re borrowing) the new icon simplifies the app launcher iconography.

It’s the third major change to the app launcher icon.

Google switched from a stacked 9-square grid to a magnifying glass in February of last year. This change was necessitated, in part, by the addition of voice search, web results and Google Now cards to the Chrome App Launcher.

Does the change to a circular motif hint at more changes to come?

Windows 10 users will recognise the button as being similar to one you click on to interact with Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, while many Android users will notice it’s the same shape ‘O’ as the ‘home’ button on Android 5.0 and up.

H/T to Pippa!

  • Julijus


  • Maybe we will be able to hold it to launch Now On Tap :O

  • not sure I like this. the magnifying glass icon matched the magnifying glass icon on the physical search key itself, which I felt was nice and consistent.

    • TonyL

      Hopefully they will also get rid of the stupid magnifying glass key as well. Accidentally pulling up the apps page in the middle of typing is a major irritation.

      • Skunky

        thats why i went into the keyboard setting and turned off the magnify button. it was super annoying when i pressed it while typing.

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Not liking the change at all. Magnifying glass made sense because you pulled the app launcher up by pressing the search key. The new icon design doesn’t make sense at all.

    Stop changing stuff for the sake of changing it, Google, PLEASE

  • David Gabel

    So much cosmetic changes but nothing under the hood to really add substance.. Just redo the UI to be the same as the phone (basically the tablet UI) and call it good..

  • Deckard_Cain

    It’s the same icon as the middle navigation icon in Android to access the app drawer.
    they’re unifying the look of ChromeOS and Android.

    • Jay T

      I think this is definitely the case. I wonder if they will make some changes to its behavior in the future.

    • james___b

      No it’s not. In stock android, the icon has six dots. This looks more like the icon to access the home screen, which doesn’t make much sense.

      • Waethorn

        “Stock Android” (i.e. AOSP), or Nexus Android?

        Most OEM’s don’t use “stock Android” anyway – they mostly just use their own launcher and icon set.

        Nexus Android is doing away with the App Drawer button.

  • I’m on Canary with my Acer Chromebook 11 (2015) and I have yet to see this change!

  • Bryan Gensits

    Beta on a 2015 pixel has the change

  • Devon Berkenstock

    It’s been showing up on my Asus c300 on the beta channel since this morning.

  • pixelstuff

    I wonder if this has something to do with Android apps on Chrome? Maybe they plan to change the function of that button at some point?

    Nothing I can think of really makes any sense as to why this would be a good icon for the app tray/launcher on ChromeOS.

    • God of chaos

      It looks exactly like the home button on android.

      • TonyL

        That’s because ChromeOS and android are in the middle of being merged. The beta works really quite well and is a big step-change for Google.

    • Juan Sutton

      yeah, this icon only shows up when you switch to the beta channel thats allows you to install android apps. when you are on the stable chrome os channel the search icon is there

  • mike maynard

    its on the beta channel now also.

  • feren CEO

    I swere, on closer inspection, it looks slightly reminiscent of Cortana! :D

  • Vin

    But this is not a Chromebook change, is it? I didn’t notice it in my Chromebook this morning.

  • Anjo Cerdeña

    Here’s what it looks like when clicked.

  • Glazed Donuts

    When is release date?

  • ikeofkc

    like it better, much classier. not as intuitive, but what else would a button right there do.

  • james___b

    Why use something that looks like Android’s home button when it opens up the equivalent of an app drawer? Why not use the app drawer icon? Also, it really does look like Cortana. Really sloppy for Google.

    • Waethorn

      Google is doing away with the app drawer icon in their Nexus builds of Android. Other companies use other icons too. The Home button makes more sense, since on Android it takes you to your Home Screen or you can launch Google Now from there, or access other apps from it. They already said that they were changing it to match Android more closely.

    • What Google is trying to achieve is familiarity for Android users coming to Chrome OS. Users know what the navigation buttons are on Android but the app drawer icon is different between every launcher or Android device.

  • Juan Sutton

    it looks pretty cool to me

  • steven duong (Sduong25)

    I got this recently. It was also the first time my chromebook updated after buying it (well me seeing it update)


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