With Chrome OS and Chrome browser versions 100 out now, Google has brought its new launcher to Chromebooks.
On Chromebooks with Chrome OS 100, users can press the 'Everything' button on the left corner of the screen to open the Chrome OS launcher, which, like macOS Spotlight and Windows start menu, helps users search for apps, files and system settings. Launcher will now open on the side of your screen instead of from the bottom.
For web search results, the Chrome OS launcher now shows more information within the launcher that looks similar to Snippets in Google Search results. Previously, only a summary was shown in launcher web search results. The new results should require fewer user actions when searching for things like famous people and places, or the weather from the launcher. Additionally, the launcher can be used to find system shortcuts.
The left-side placement of the launcher gives more screen space to already open apps, Google argues. Users can also organize apps by color or name, and manually arrange them.
A nifty new feature of the launcher is the ability to search for open tabs and windows. "Instead of sifting through your tabs for that crossword puzzle you started this morning, a quick search in the new Launcher will direct you to the right open tab," Google notes in the announcement.
Google says the new launcher is rolling out to all Chromebooks soon.
Chromebooks are also gaining a GIF-creation tool that lets users create GIFs from the Camera app. Users can select "Video" and toggle on the "GIF" setting to create a five-second video that is automatically converted into a GIF for sharing on social media, messaging apps, or to an Android device using Nearby Share.
Building on the Chromebook's Dictation feature for using voice to write an email or document, Google now lets users edit text with voice. For example, saying "delete" deletes the last letter in a sentence, while saying "move to next character" can move the cursor. Users need to enable Dictation to use the feature and then press the Everything Button + D.
Google isn't promoting voice-based text edits as an accessibility feature, but it has similar functionality to voice text-editing capabilities that Microsoft is bringing to Windows 11 through accessibility settings.