The humble Chrome OS launcher has become quite the hub for activity on Chromebooks in the past few years. From adding Google Assistant to getting a complete overhaul for both desktop and tablet modes, the launcher is slowly becoming the centralized starting point for users on Chromebooks. With the latest OS update, users can even get to quick settings and Play Store listings with just a keyboard press and search query.
It should come as no surprise that Google is leveraging a search-first part of Chrome OS as a way to get things done. The omnibar (URL bar) in Chrome has long served as a combo space for more than just a simple URL request. Instead, it has morphed into a space that handles website security, bookmarks, settings, and general search results. Just type in something like “Mark Zuckerberg” in your URL bar and see how Google has made the omnibar far more powerful than a simple place to direct your browser.
Those rich results you see when searching popular things on the internet are now also on the way for the app launcher as well. Clearly, as Google is aiming to make the Chrome OS launcher your one-stop-shop for actions on a Chromebook, it only makes sense that better search results are part of that plan.
Uncovered by Chrome Story, it seems there is already a feature flag for this in the works over in the Chromium Gerrit, and the feature will be listed as a flag labeled “Omnibox rich entities in the launcher” with a description: Enable rich entity formatting for Omnibox results in the launcher.
It is pretty clear what we’re getting ready to start seeing in the launcher in the coming months, and I’m ready for it. I’ve slowly began adapting my habits to include the Chrome OS launcher and the more Google keeps adding to the mix, the more inclined I am to keep directing my attention to it. While my habit is still to open a Chrome tab to start just about any task, I can see a future where those tasks begin with a press of the launcher key instead. We’ll keep an eye on this one and update as we see it come online in a future update.