Windows users can now download and enable the Chrome App Launcher, giving them instant access to common Web-based Google services such as the Chrome browser, Gmail, Google Drive and the Chrome store.
It’s essentially a shortcut to the landing page on the Chrome browser, which shows a horizontal grid of large, brightly colored icons for accessing extensions and other useful Chrome apps. The new launcher, spotted by Engadget, was originally built for Chrome OS as a way of promoting Google’s own services and replicating some of the functionality found in the taskbar or dock of a traditional desktop operating system.
Given Google’s expansion of Chrome as a wider, more fully-featured platform, as well as its desire to move more users into the cloud, its subsequent expansion onto Windows is therefore justified. While many users still choose native Windows apps over Chrome apps – services such as Google Drive and TweetDeck spring to mind – the new Chrome App Launcher certainly removes some of the perceived friction.
Actually installing the Chrome App Launcher is a lot easier than it was when we first looked at the new Chrome feature in February. All you have to do now is agree to install the launcher and almost automatically it will show up in your taskbar. Earlier versions required you to install a packaged app first before you could install the app launcher.
So far the Chrome App Launcher is only available for Windows users in official builds of Google’s Web browser. In May, the search giant added the launcher to Chromium for Mac (the open source version of Chrome), while Linux users are still left on the sidelines.
Play Cut The Rope on your desktop with the Chrome packaged app.