I forgot I had an app launcher on my Chromebook and here’s why

I can’t tell you the last time I used my Chromebook’s app launcher to properly launch an app. I mean, that’s not entirely true. I use it to search for an app by typing and then tapping on the result to open standalone PWAs, but what I really mean is I have no idea when I last scrolled the list of applications in order to select one manually, and I have several reasons for this.


First off, I’ve lived a lot of my ChromeOS life in canary mode, so I’ve trained myself not to rely on something that’s always changing or constantly breaking, and the launcher qualified like all these things quite often in recent years.

Second, and probably more importantly, app syncing in the launcher has been ridiculously unreliable for longer than I can remember. I’ve written about this extensively in the past, particularly when I gave my wish list of vital changes that she needed to apply to be worth using. While I’m happy to report that many things on this list have already been taken and implemented as feedback thanks to the dev team, the damage has already been done. Like Google, the launcher itself has been so unreliable for so long that I’ve trained myself to avoid it at all costs for visual selection.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the launcher is an essential part of Google’s operating system and makes it stand out among the crowd. This is a unique feature that allows users to store and recall a seemingly endless number of website (web application) icons on their own, as opposed to constantly typing URLs or visiting websites through the main browser Chrome tabs along with other elements. personal and experiences seem more contained. I also like the idea of ​​collecting and organizing app icons so my Chromebook really feels like it’s mine instead of just a device I’ve logged into the library and j clicked on the Chrome browser to launch Google search. Application icons give that “windows program list” feel if you know what I mean.

However, every time I move an icon to another folder or launcher location, or even every time I delete a handful of old PWAs from the list, they immediately reappear after I restart my Chromebook. I thought this would be fixed when the company finally released its productivity launcher, but I think I was mistaken in thinking the performance and experience issues would be fixed when it finally came to re-evaluating the whole thing from the ground up – an opportunity Google recently had when it built this from the ground up!

The Productivity Launcher is more functional and better looking than its predecessor, the Peaking Launcher, but if it’s just as flaky about performing the basic functionality it was designed for, then I guess I’ll keep looking for what I have in there and run it blind. Again, searching is faster and has even become second nature in my use of Chromebooks, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that I’m constantly haunted by icons that keep rising from the dead and dying. clutter the top of my launcher.

My fear is that Google will do what Google always does and focus more on the visual aspect of sprucing things up and entirely neglect fixing what everyone hated about them from the start. It’s famous for throwing things half-baked and then implementing user feedback to make the experience passable over the next 5-10 years, but as far as Chromebook bread and butter goes, I hope that will cease to be the trend.

So far the only time I’ve used my Chromebook launcher from a visual “pick an app icon and tap” perspective, as opposed to quick search and tap the Enter key on my keyboard is when I’m using my Lenovo Chromebook Duet in tablet mode. This is because it makes a lot of sense to have icons for a touch experience. For this reason, I don’t think Google should get rid of the launcher entirely, but I do think it has a responsibility to its users to fix this sync issue. If it’s not, and I don’t really believe it will be, since it’s already been a major annoyance for years, then I’ll continue to ignore it, and that’s just unfortunate.

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