On Tuesday, Google announced its plan to retire the Start menu-like Chrome app launcher later this year.
"The app launcher makes Chrome apps easy to open outside the browser, but we've found that users on Windows, Mac, and Linux prefer to launch their apps from within Chrome. With Chrome's continued emphasis on simplicity and streamlining browser features, the launcher will be removed from those platforms," said Google Chrome Engineering Director Marc Pawliger in a blog post on the matter. The app launcher will not change on Chrome OS. The launcher will not be killed overnight; instead, the removal process will take several months. "Beginning in a few weeks, Chrome will no longer enable the launcher when users first install a Chrome app. Anyone who currently has the launcher will receive a notice informing them that the launcher will be going away," explained Pawliger. In July, the launcher will officially be removed. Chrome apps can be accessed via the apps shortcut in the bookmarks bar or via the omnibox.
This move is in line with Google's ongoing pursuit to simplify and speed up Chrome. Late last year, Google axed its Chrome desktop notification center. "[I]n 2013 Chrome launched the notification center, a place for users to find notifications from Chrome apps and extensions that they'd missed. However, in practice, few users visit the notification center," explained Google in a blog post last October. Like the app launcher, this feature was removed from Windows, Mac, and Linux but remained unchanged on Chrome OS.
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