I can’t tell you the last time I used the Chromebook app launcher to run an app just fine. I mean, that’s not entirely true. I’m using it to search for an app by typing and then clicking on the result to open standalone PWAs, but what I really mean is that I have no clue when I’ve scrolled through the app list recently in order to manually select an app, and I’m several reasons for that.
First of all, I’ve lived a lot of my life in ChromeOS in Canary mode, so I’ve trained myself not to rely on something that is always changing or constantly breaking, and the launcher has qualified because all of these things quite often over the past few years .
Second, and perhaps most importantly, sync apps in the launcher have been laughably unreliable for longer than I can remember. I’ve written about this a lot in the past, especially when you gave me Wish List of Vital Changes I Needed to Apply In order to be worth using. While I’m happy to report that many things from that list have already been taken and implemented as a reaction thanks to the dev team, the damage has already been done. In real Google fashion, the launcher itself has been so unreliable for so long that I’ve trained myself to avoid it at all costs for the visual selection.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the launcher is a vital part of Google’s operating system and allows it to stand out from the crowd. It’s a unique feature that allows users to store and recall a seemingly infinite number of website (web application) icons in a standalone way instead of constantly typing in URLs or visiting websites via Chrome tabs in the main browser with other things, so it feels personal And experiences feel more contained. I also like the idea of collecting and organizing app icons so that my Chromebook really feels like mine instead of just being a device where I’ve signed in to the library and clicked on my Chrome browser to start searching Google. The app icons give the feel of a “Windows Program List” if you know what I mean.
However, every time I move an icon to another folder, another location in the launcher, or even anytime I delete a few old PWAs from the list, it shows up immediately after restarting my Chromebook. I thought this would be resolved when the company finally released the Productivity Launcher, but I guess I was wrong in thinking that performance and experience issues would be resolved when it finally came to re-evaluating everything in essence – a chance Google recently did when it built this from the ground up O!
The productivity launcher is more functional and beautiful than its predecessor, Peaking Launcher, but if it’s unstable in performing the basic functions it was built for then I guess I’ll keep looking for what I got there and shoot it blind. Again, searching is faster and has become second nature to my use of Chromebooks, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that I’m always haunted by icons that keep resurrecting themselves from the dead and jam the top of the launcher.
My fear is that Google will do what Google has always done and focus more on the visual side of beautifying things and completely ignore fixing what everyone hates about them from the start. It’s known for releasing half-cooked stuff and then implementing user feedback to make the experience passable 5-10 years after that, but when it comes to Chromebook bread and butter, I hope the trend stops.
Currently, the only time I’ve used my Chromebook’s launcher from a visual point of view is “choose and touch an app icon” rather than a quick search and hit enter on the keyboard when I’m using the Lenovo Chromebook Duet in tablet mode. This is because it makes sense to have icons for a touch experience. For this reason, I don’t think Google should get rid of the launcher completely, but I do believe that they have a responsibility to their users to fix this sync issue. If he wasn’t, and I really don’t think he’d see what a prominent nuisance he actually was for years, I would continue to ignore him, which is unfortunate.