Google Chrome Ditching Its App Launcher for Windows, Mac, And Linux

Undeniably the most popular browser on the market right now, for most internet users, Google Chrome is a piece of software that they simply couldn’t live without. However, there’s one single feature of Google Chrome that many users neglect to even acknowledge as part of their day-to-day use of Google’s browser, and that’s the Chrome app launcher. The app launcher was implemented into Chrome by Google as a way of allowing users to access their apps within the program.

According to Digital Trends, Google now appears to have acknowledged the lack of interest in Chrome’s app launcher, announcing that the feature will be killed off in an upcoming update. The feature is set to be retired within the Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of Google Chrome. However, as an integral part of the Chrome OS operating system, the feature will remain intact on that version of Google’s browser, and it was yet to be implemented in mobile iterations of the software.

“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.”

As reported by Venture Beat, aside from offering browsing capability, Google Chrome also offers an environment for users to download and install applications. Traditionally, users would have to open Google Chrome in order to use one of these apps. The introduction of Chrome’s app launcher meant that users could launch Chrome-based apps from their desktop. However, according to Google, it’s a feature that most users simply didn’t utilize. Instead, many turned to opening Google Chrome apps from within the browser itself or just instead turning to the web-based alternative to the application.

Google's Head of Chrome Sundar Pichai
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

It’s worth noting that the removal of Chrome’s app launcher won’t mean the removal of apps in Google Chrome. Users will still be able to access their Chrome apps from within the browser itself, but Google’s introduction of push notifications for web pages could mean that the apps themselves are slowly being phased out of the browser.

The ditching of Google Chrome’s app launcher won’t be an immediate process, however. Within a few weeks, Google Chrome will stop enabling the launcher by default when you install a new app. At this point, users who still use Chrome’s app launcher will be able to continue doing so, but they will receive a notification from Google in the coming weeks that details the app launcher’s departure. The feature disappears for good in July for all users of the browser on Windows, Mac, and Linux.


Google is no stranger to removing unpopular features from their browser. You might recall last year that Google removed the notification center from Chrome, quite simply because enough users weren’t making use of it. Much like with the removal of that notification center, the majority of users won’t even notice Chrome’s app launcher disappearing. That’s because Google Chrome updates in the background, with Google requiring little action on the part of the user in order to update their application.

The app launcher has been a part of the Chrome package for Windows, Mac, and Linux since back in 2013. While it’s a feature that many Chrome users weren’t aware of, users of Chrome’s apps are likely going to miss the functionality it provides. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that users of Chrome OS on Chromebook devices won’t be losing access to the app launcher any time soon. In fact, considering Chrome serves as the basis for Chrome OS, it would make little sense for Google to remove the app launcher in that respect.

Google Chrome’s app launcher will slowly be phased out of the desktop version of Chrome in July.

[Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images]