A couple of weeks back we shared a sneak-peek of a new app launcher developers were experimenting with in the Chrome OS Canary channel. At that time, the new, Android style launcher was hidden behind a flag simply labeled #enable-fullscreen-app-list.
Check out the video below if you haven’t had a chance to check out the launcher in action.
Since that time, the new launcher has not only received a new name but has also (and more importantly) made its way to the less buggy Developer channel of Chrome OS.
The feature is still disabled by default but can easily be switched on by first moving to the Developer channel. Doing so is very simple but, as always, know that it can be buggy and your return to the Stable channel will require a Powerwash and a loss of any locally stored data. You can move over to the Developer channel by heading to
Settings>About Chrome OS>Detailed build info>Change channel.
Once there, find the new launcher by going to chrome://flags via your browser. From here hit ctrl+f to search and type “peeking” in the search bar. You should now be looking the updated flag for the new launcher. You will see it has been named the “peeking launcher” due to its swipe up style that mimics mobile devices.
Just click “enable” and you will be prompted to restart the browser. Now you’re all set. When you click the search key or the app menu icon you will be greeted by the “Peeking Launcher.” It’s kind of catchy, don’t you think?
It is exciting to see this moved to the Developer channel so quickly. With all the focus on touch UI, tablets, detachables and such, this new launcher will be essential for user experience. It would not surprise me if we see it launched (see what I did there? Because it’s a launcher? Oh, nevermind.) in version 61 of Chrome OS.
We’ll be keeping a close eye on this one in the hopes of seeing new features added in the future.