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Google Now Card Integration Coming to Chrome App Launcher

The Android effect continues to be felt as Google look to supercharge Chrome Launcher

New features in the Chrome OS Beta channel have been highlighted by Google in an effort to get more Chromebook users testing and providing feedback.

One of the upcoming changes is, as we revealed a few weeks back, integration of Google Now Cards inside the new look Chrome App Launcher.

Image: Google

Image: Google

Chrome Community Manager Ernest Cabrera, sharing a rundown of features in a post on the Google Product Forum, describes ‘Launcher 2.0’, as “…the best way to start new activities on Chrome OS, like performing a Google search or launching apps.”

While not every Chromebook owner is going to be (or on developer channels, has been) pleased by the repositioned and revamped design it does gel well with its intended aim: helping users get more things done.

And since there is more to do on a Chromebook that simply launching applications the roomier launcher includes enhanced search results, better voice search integration, a more intuitive canvas for managing apps and, tantalisingly, powered up with Google Now smarts.

Other Changes

Other items presented are, more or less, already available to beta testers today. Highlighted as part of the Cabrera’s Beta testing call these include:

Password-protected ZIP support to allow users to seamlessly unpack zip archives that are password protected  (but not yet packaged).

Timezone Autoupdate sees Chrome OS automatically update the system clock based on the detected location of the device, which will be great for Chromebook-owning travellers!

‘Material Design’ touches such as the new look File Manager. 

How To Switch to Chrome OS Beta Channel

Existing Chromebook, Chromebox and Chromebase owners can easily ‘opt-in’ to the beta channel (bearing in mind the usual caveats) through the Chrome Settings page:

Settings > About Chrome OS > More Info > Change Channel

The Chrome OS Beta channel is not for everybody. The trade off in testing features earlier is the potential for a buggy or unreliable experience.

Not that all’s lost; it’s easy to switch back to a stable version of Chrome OS in much the same way, but it should be noted that his will reset the device (i.e., wipe local files, photos, wi-fi networks, accounts, etc).

  • David Alexander Harrison

    Will this be coming to the Chome Browser App Launcher any time soon? Looks pretty nifty!

    • In theory, I’d imagine that’s the plan! Since most other features of Launcher 2.0 are already available on Windows and Linux, i don’t see why they’d decouple Now from the Notification Center solely on Chrome OS but keep it there on other desktops.

  • Stefan

    What version is it on?

    • Stephen Gale

      42

      • Stefan

        But I can’t get it. :(

  • Kevin Kuo

    It’s happening.gif

  • George Bristow

    I am on chrome os beta and just updated. I don’t have this

  • awalGarg

    I am just starting out to appreciate the Chrome Launcher, and it is quite nice actually (even on the normal OSes as the app launcher). Didn’t try this out, but happy about the addition :D

  • moe

    looks good, was hoping this would become a widget in chrome os..

  • Cirrell Battle

    I’d rather have the Google Now integration within the notifications area and not the apps launcher.

  • ddevito

    Looks like the Windows 10 start menu. No thanks

    • Alexander Brown

      Don’t say that it might go to Microsofts head

    • Austin Davolt

      On that note I hate windows so MUCH!!! Bill Gates is the ultimate personification of evil…

  • Stephen Gale

    Waste of space. Change it back to the traditional Apps Launcher.

    • JUDGE

      I have switch back to the old Apps Launcher: more practicable, lesser space used. I am waiting for the password protected archives opener. I have enabled the Material Design for the PDF reader app: it’s more useful and friendly user appealing than the classic PDF reader app!!! Now, what about a gallery option for the video player and the possibility to change colours for the folders like on the Drive??

  • If only they could put some focus on the VPN aspect and add more options. Right now, We cannot consider those as a viable platform for our Google Apps users.

    Right now, we have Android devices that are able to connect to our corporate VPN using IPSec/PSK+Xauth, which is not possible right now on ChromeOS.

    And they say they support OpenVPN, but you cannot import an .ovpn file. Go figure.

  • moe

    a customizable widget for google now would be nicer..

  • ConCal

    I just want Chrome OS to get a full fledged material design makeover like Android got with it’s 5.0 release. I wish they would just go “all in” with material design on Chromebooks.

    • It is getting a material makeover, but it’s arriving piece by piece. From enhanced bookmarks to the new tab page, to various Chrome Apps, to various elements of the Chrome OS “desktop”.

      It’s just hard to do it all at once because of the technical considerations involved. Remember that Chrome OS is regular Chrome, and you don’t have to stray too far from this site to see how welcome change is to regular Chrome users…

  • Alexander Brown

    Google Now Launcher. Sorry, Chrome App Launcher 2.0 is starting to become quite fully featured

  • Looks nice. Any way to get this with Chrome on other OSs?

    • Alexander Brown

      about:flags look for experimental launcher enable in click restart chrome and you should get A version (haven’t tested to see if has been the gNow integration yet as I’m on android right now)

  • Felipe Chierighini

    Top!

  • Personally, I think they should have some widget support on the starting screen, similar to an android launcher. This would add much more customization, and a cool aspect that would bring in customers. **Sidenote: What happened with Proj. Athena?
    ***I would also like to see work done on the Lockscreen/Taskbar, I really like the concept shown in the I/O presentation (circular profile icon, and no ‘bubble’ for the system connections.

    • Work is currently underway on both! The new lock screen can be tried on the canary channel by running a switch and pressing a key combo. It should arrive as a bona-fide flag in the next dev update or shortly after.

      • What is the key combo exactly? And can you post a screenshot? With the device I use, I can’t change the channel. (School device)

  • It’s amazing that I still don’t see Google Now integration in the new launcher despite running Chrome OS Canary on my machine…

  • Still not seeing the Google Now Integration, even though I’m on the Chrome OS Dev Channel. Have Google skipped the Canary & Dev Channels and gone straight to the Beta Channel with this feature?

    • Stephen Gale

      it’s in version 42 of ChromeOS, and has been for a little while now. About a month ago I was in the Dev channel and noticed this change… Didn’t care for it at all. It’s based around a touch screen deployment and has a “Frequently Used” and “All Apps” section a la Windows.

      • I’m on Version 43.0.2334.0 dev (64-bit) but it’s still the central App Launcher with the frequently used apps & all apps pages and no Google Now Cards.

        • I got the same problem with v. 42 (Beta). I don’t have the Google Now cards in the central app launcher. It looks like I’m not alone with this problem.

          • Michael Maune

            I also don’t have it yet, and I’m on dev channel vers. 43. I’ve tried turning on/off the exp. app launcher a couple of times, but no dice. I wonder if it’s still getting rolled out?

          • ChromeDude

            Have you got it yet? I still haven’t got it even though there’s a ‘Show Google Now cards in the launcher’ setting on my settings page.

  • Midas Gordon-Farleigh

    The calculator has had a material tweak also – the ripple effect when you click a button is new.

  • Mi Pen

    Id rather see my inboxs and notifications, than the weather next to maps. Still its interesting idea.

  • Rocksin

    hoy to do.

  • Guest

    chrome offer…. I started working from home, doing various simple jobs which only required desktop or laptop computer and internet access and I couldn’t be happier… It’s been six months since i started this and i made so far total of 36,000 dollars… Basicly i profit about 80 dollars every hour and work for 3 to 4 hours a day.And the best part about this job is that you can decide when to work yourself and for how long and you get a paycheck weekly.—>

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  • Luctreebusch

    When do we see these changes on the normal chrome os channel? My Chromebook still has the old filemanager + icon.

    • Stephen Gale

      ChromeOS Version 42

  • James Castells

    Joey, why did you remove all the comments @ OmgUbuntu?

    • Lopicycle

      Oh good, it’s not just me. Do you think it’s intentional though? I couldn’t find any mention of the change either on the site or twitter and there’s a big page of “commenting policy” linked from the main site. And there are now articles which finish with a “… and be sure to check out the comments for important details on how to XYZ”, with no sign of a comments section below!

      Either way, hope it gets fixed soon. Despite all the bickering and noise in the comments there’s a lot of good content in there.

      • James Castells

        The last post had its comments closed and Joey commented himself saying that, due to all the aggressive comments, the section comments in that article had been disabled. However, the next day, every comment section in every article had disappeared. I just wonder why.

      • James Castells

        The last article contains the final sentence, “Don’t forget: you can always tip us with news, app suggestions, and anything else you’d like to see us cover by using the power of electronic mail. Direct your key punches to joey [at] oho [dot] io.”. I guess comments are gone forever.

        • antonetteclark

          1 year ago I finally resigned from my office work and it was a best decision i made in my life… I started to work online, over a website I discovered online, few hrs daily, and I profit now much more than i did on my last work… My last month pay-check was for 9 thousand dollars… Great thing about this work is that i have more free time for my loved ones… CHILP.IT/728813e

    • Asshats ruin the fun :P

  • Drew Ciccotelli

    I bought a Acer Chromebook 13 and already the beta update is greatly improving its performance.

  • Now, I love Google Now and all, but this seems a bit obtrusive. Would this not make more sense in the notification area? I think Chrome OS could use a notification area redesign, while leaving the launcher untouched. On Android, Google Now occupies a separate page, so why shouldn’t it occupy a different space (notification area) on Chrome OS?

    • Alexander Brown

      But on android Now takes up a seperate page in the Launcher so why not in Chrome? I just open the launcher and start typing anyway

    • Followup to my previous complaint – this recently rolled out on stable, and I honestly like it. I thought it would be obtrusive, but it just adds to the same exact launcher I’m already used to (the one in middle).

  • kendra.tindell