Today Google is launching Chrome OS 93 to Chromebooks, just a week after it released Chrome 93 to mobile and desktop platforms. Chromebooks have seen wild success over the last couple of years thanks to Chrome OS being reliable, secure, and easy to use, and Chrome OS 93 adds polish here and there to help you enjoy your Chromebook even more. Here are all the important features and tweaks coming with this update.
Nova Launcher has always been among the most popular third-party launchers, even with great alternatives like Niagara popping up left and right. After what felt like months of stagnation, the latest visual refresh and rewrite of Nova is finally starting to roll out on the Play Store, dubbed Nova7. It's based on the latest AOSP launcher code and comes with new animations, styles, and features.
Android 12 Beta 2 first introduced monochrome icons for Google apps based on your wallpaper's colors, much like other interface elements as part of Material You or Monet. Beta 3 expands on these capabilities. It's the first release of Android 12 that introduces a user-facing toggle to turn on or off these themed icons in the Wallpaper & style app, and while it's at it, it's adding a ton more Google apps to the list of supported icons.
It's no secret that your Chromebook's app launcher could use a serious user experience overhaul. As it is today, Chrome OS is devoid of any method of sorting your apps, meaning all rearrangement of your apps has to be done by hand, and it creates new pages in the launcher seemingly at random. The end result is an unusable mess, making it frustrating to find your important apps unless you use the search bar. After years of neglectinguserfeedback, it seems Google is finally doing something about it.
It's been several years since Google overhauled the app drawer for Chromebooks. It replaced the aging "card" launcher with a touch-focused one, bearing a striking resemblance to Apple's Launchpad for macOS. While it brought usability improvements to touchscreen Chromebooks, the experience is largely unintuitive with a mouse. Worse, the launcher feels slippery and unpolished, even on a tablet — Google is testing some improvements to fix this. Your mouse woes may soon be over, though, as Google is testing a completely redesigned launcher that's much more mouse friendly.
Getting bored with your tired, old phone? Craving a new experience but find yourself stuck with your current handset for a while? Maybe what you need is a new launcher. Switching to a new launcher doesn't just give your phone a fresh look, but can also challenge you to interact with it in fun new (maybe even productivity-boosting) ways. Earlier this year we went hands-on with the very clean-looking Niagara Launcher, and now we're learning about a new beta release with features that are just ready to pop.
A week following Chrome 90's release for desktop and mobile platforms, Chrome OS 90 is now arriving on eligible Chromebooks. Although Google didn't stuff quite as many features into it like OS 89, the update still improves Chromebooks with several changes to enhance the user experience. Here are all the important Chrome OS 90 features Google announced today.
Google is a search company first and foremost, and that shows. Most of its products prominently feature search bars or search buttons, and that's no different for Chromebooks with their own dedicated search key, replacing Caps Lock. The button launches an online and system-wide search for apps, websites, bookmarks, settings entries, and more. It's handy, but it can get pretty overwhelming and chaotic due to all different kinds of entries loped together. Google sure seems to be willing to improve that.
Search has always been a core component of Android — the OS is made by Google, after all. But one of the coolest tricks of the system has been reserved for Google's own launcher and widget: the ability to search through both your own apps and web search results at once. That capability may be coming to all launchers and apps in the near future, according to developer documentation for Android 12.