Now that Chrome OS and Chrome browser version 100 are available, Google has brought its new launcher to Chromebooks.
On Chromebooks running Chrome OS 100, users can press the “All” button in the left corner of the screen to open the Chrome OS launcher, which, like macOS Spotlight and the Windows start menu, helps users search for apps, files and system settings. Launcher will now open on the side of your screen instead of the bottom.
For web search results, the Chrome OS launcher now displays more information in the launcher that resembles snippets in Google search results. Previously, only a summary was shown in launcher search results on the web. The new results should require fewer user actions when searching for things like famous people and places, or the launcher’s weather. In addition, the launcher can be used to find system shortcuts.
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The placement on the left side of the launcher gives more screen space to already open apps, Google says. Users can also organize apps by color or name and manually arrange them.
A handy new feature of the launcher is the ability to search for open tabs and windows. “Instead of searching your tabs for that crossword puzzle you started this morning, a quick search in the new Launcher will direct you to the correct open tab,” Google notes in the announcement.
Google says the new launcher will be rolling out to all Chromebooks soon.
Chromebooks are also getting a GIF maker tool that allows users to create GIFs from within the Camera app. Users can select “Video” and turn on the “GIF” setting to create a five-second video that is automatically converted to a GIF for sharing on social media, messaging apps, or on an Android device with Near Share.
Building on the Chromebook’s dictation feature for using speech to write an email or document, Google now lets users edit text with speech. For example, saying “delete” will delete the last letter in a sentence, while saying “move to next character” will move the cursor. Users must enable Dictation to use the feature and then press the All button + D.
Google doesn’t promote speech-based text editing as an accessibility feature, but it has similar functionality to the voice-editing capabilities that Microsoft brings to Windows 11 through accessibility settings.