If you’ve been using the new Chrome OS app launcher flag on your Chromebook. You may have noticed there are some extra icons at the top of the start menu. These extra icons are provided to help you quickly find files you’ve been working with most recently.
Because the new Chrome OS app launcher menu is only available by enabling a flag. You’ll find the way the menu is presented to you has changed a few times in the last month. This is perfectly normal when using a flag because the functionality a flag offers is a work in progress.
This means you may find any functions you have access to by enabling a flag can change on a regular basis. This is because the Chrome OS team will be regularly changing how they work to get them ready for being provided by default.
Continued where you left off
The idea of the extra icons that appear at the top of the new Chrome OS start menu is to give you quick access to files. These files are what you’ve been working on most recently. This could be an image or a file you’ve downloaded from the internet.
The idea of providing shortcuts to these files from the app launcher is to help with productivity. Instead of searching for a file you’ve recently been working with. You can simply find the file at the top of your app launcher.
Four of your latest files are stored in this location, which means you can easily find the last few files you’ve been working with. This may be good if you can’t remember where specific files are located or you prefer a quick link to your latest files.
You can remove this functionality
If you are like me you may find these quick links are unnecessary and look pretty ugly. I much prefer the cleaner-looking app launcher, which simply shows all of the apps you have installed on your Chromebook. I don’t like the way these quick links are displayed.
The good news is you now have the option to remove these links. This means you can either continue to have these links showing or change the settings so they are no longer visible.
I accept the fact that some people may like them and I’m sure there will be others who don’t. Therefore, I think it’s really good to see we’ve been given an option to choose. I’ve not seen a Chrome OS flag before where you’re given options on what parts of the new functionality you’d like to use.
Having more options to customise your Chromebook is important
Although I absolutely love Chrome OS one thing that has always been a bit of an issue is customisation. To keep Chrome OS lightweight, fast, secure and easy to use. The Chrome OS team has limited the possibility of customising your device.
This has changed somewhat in the last couple of years, which is great to see. However, I think we have a long way to go before we can truly customise our device to suit our needs.
The fact you now have the option to change whether the app launcher has quick links or not. Also, you choose this option from the Chrome OS flag. Suggests this may be a customisation option we’ll have when it’s released as default without the need of a flag.
I may be wrong about this but I do hope this is the case. I’m unsure why they would decide to change the flag, so you can choose the best option for you. If it isn’t because they’ve decided you’ll also have the option when the new app launcher is provided by default.
How to change your Chrome OS App Launcher
To use the new Chrome OS app launcher you need to enable a flag. The flag you enable whether you want the quick links or not is the same. The difference is that you now have an extra option. Instead of the options being ‘default, disabled, enabled‘. You now have an extra option, which is ‘enabled without continue‘.
I’ve not used Chrome OS flags enough to know whether this is something that other flags provide. However, since using flags I’ve never seen an extra option before.
If you wish to use the new app launcher and would like the quick links to be visible. You simply need to select ‘enabled’. If you’d prefer for the quick links not to show choose ‘enabled without continue’. This will then remove the quick links from the new Chrome OS app launcher.
To get access to Chrome OS flags on your Chromebook. Simply open your Chrome browser and type chrome://flags into the address bar. From there you can search for the flag you wish to use.