As Chrome OS continues to evolve, Google continues to adjust what it offers in terms of features and the UI. Currently, Google is testing out a significant change to the OS for the sake of 2-in-1 machines — a brand new, touch-friendly launcher.

The app launcher is one aspect of Chrome OS that never felt like it got the memo about tablet mode. It works, but it feels clunky. With this new app launcher, Google is bringing something that feels far more familiar to this type of hardware.

Tapping the launcher button opens recently used apps and offers up an easily accessible search bar. Sliding up from there you’ll see a Pixel Launcher-esque overview of all of the apps installed on your machine. Functionally it’s basically identical to Chrome OS’ current launcher, but this new UI is a refresh that anyone with a 2-in-1 like the Chromebook Pro will surely adore.

Currently this change is in development, so it resides only in the Canary channel. If you want to try it out, switch to the Canary channel and enter chrome://flags/#enable-fullscreen-app-list and restart the machine.

Once rebooted, you’ll have the new launcher. All cards on the table, though, the Canary channel is pretty unstable, so expect some bugs. Depending on user reactions, we’ll likely see this change expand over the coming weeks, eventually making its way to the stable channel.

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Ben Schoon

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