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A Google Now-style facelift is making its way to Chrome OS beta

If you're running the Chrome OS beta channel on your Chromebook, and new change is making its way to your device. The new feature is called Chrome Launcher 2.0, and it brings a new Google Now-centric interface and some performance improvements.

Published onMarch 30, 2015

Screenshot 2015-03-26 at 9.20.17 PM

If you’re currently running a Chromebook on the Chrome OS beta channel, a revamped interface is making its way to your device soon. The new update, which brings Chrome Launcher 2.0, aims to make it easier to perform tasks like launching applications and performing Google searches.

In past beta releases and in the current stable build of Chrome OS, the interface sort of resembled a Windows-like UI, allowing users to select which apps to launch from the app drawer in the bottom-left corner of the screen. But in Chrome Launcher 2.0, pressing that button will now pull up a big card complete with a Google Search bar, Google Now cards and recently used applications. As you can see from the images below, the new launcher will show you apps that you use most often right under the Search bar. Of course, you can still access the full list of apps if you’d like.

User interface tweaks aren’t the only changes Chrome OS beta is getting, though. Google has made unzipping password-protected ZIP files much easier. If you’ve ever tried to do this on a Chromebook in the past, you’d know it’s pretty difficult. Also, your Chromebook will now automatically detect timezone changes, a simple feature that has somehow just made its way to Chrome OS. Google is working to bring its Material Design guidelines to the platform, though the only app that’s getting it in the new update is the Files App.

If you’re running Chrome OS stable right now, you can easily switch to the beta channel to test out the new features. Just be aware that switching back from beta to stable will delete all of your local data on your Chromebook. Be on the lookout for the update sometime this week.

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