Your Chromebook Just Got Smarter with Google Now

29 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 secret Chrome app launcher tips and tricks that speed up everyday tasks.

The new launcher is available now in the Chrome OS beta channel, and it’s a major departure from the existing version. Google Now has been available for Android devices for some time now, and while it may have been slow on the uptake, users are turning to it, particularly for Android users who may be in search of a program that capitalizes on full Android integration and all the things that Google can bring by connecting its application through one interface.

Google announced this Thursday that its Chrome operating system will soon incorporate Google Now and its iconic card system in an effort to make its line of Chromebook laptops closer to an Android-like experience. It packs a surprising amount of Google-y power that can speed up a wide variety of tasks on a Chromebook—and Windows, if you install the Chrome launcher.

The new update will have Google Launcher 2.0 opening into a large, centralized window as the centerpiece of a user’s display, doing away with the former pop-up menu that used to hold the apps a user had installed on their Chromebook. It’s fast, simple, and helps you get things done,” explains Google community manager for Chrome, Ernest Cabrera. “We’ve enhanced search to help you find what you are looking for faster, put the apps you most often use right at your fingertips, and brought the power of Google Now to your Chromebook.” If you are an Android fan and you are not familiar with Google Now yet, you should know that it tracks your activity using other Google software and remembers and formulates what you may need for the future.

Google’s iconic logo now appears front and center with a search box directly underneath it, the four Chrome apps most recently loaded by the user and an additional button that reveals all apps installed on the laptop. Your four most recent apps appear below your search box, along with a button to show “all apps.” Beneath these apps, the launcher will show information cards from Google Now, similar to how they appear on phones and tablets. For example, if you put a location in your calendar for a meeting, Google Now will actually remind you when it is time to leave based on the length of time it will take to drive there. Since Sundar Pichai’s appointment as the head of Android, he successfully transformed the two separate ecosystems to work in sync, with one goal in mind — and that is to bring Google to more people.

The new second-generation launcher, in addition to providing an extra step for a user that would like to open one of their apps that’s not currently pinned to the bottom of their screen, will also offer Google Now cards that can provide specific information like sports scores, headlines, traffic conditions, and local weather. The Google Now service pays attention to your daily needs/requests and provides you with relevant information organized in cards in the moment you need it most. The system has come to be well-known on Android devices, and incorporates voice-activated searching with the user prefacing any search query with the words “OK Google.” The Mountain View-based company says it’s also going to begin altering Chrome apps to reflect the new Material Design standard that went into effect with Android 5.0 Lollipop and later updates to the mobile operating system. Twitter’s video sharing service Vine, the software service Evernote, and two other Android apps were updated to run on Google’s internet and low-cost-focused computer operating system. Your Chromebook will pull up suggestions from your search history, bookmarks, frequently-visited sites, and—of course—Google’s auto-suggestions from the Internet and Chrome Web Store.

And six months after the launch of Android apps on Chrome OS, Google is adding a new set of Android features to its fast growing personal computing operating system. Chromebook owners interested in joining the beta program and gaining access to the new Google Now Launcher before the rest of Chrome OS users will be able to can click on the More Info option in About Chrome OS and select Change Channel. After using this method to navigate the web, Windows or OS X will suddenly start to feel slower by comparison… though the Chrome app launcher offers the same functionality on those operating systems. The keyboard commands are pretty straightforward: Use the forward slash for fractions and division, the x for multiplication, and the period for decimals. In a nutshell, Chrome OS is slowly but surely becoming a more feature-packed operating system — and it is also transforming to become the “desktop version” of Android.

Additionally, the morning typically starts with opening of the same apps/programs every day, by recommending my usual apps within the Launcher app, my day is simplified. There are also several recognizable voice commands that will perform a function, such as setting a timer, or creating a reminder that will sync to Chrome on any device. For example, when you right-click (accomplished by tapping two fingers on the Chromebook trackpad) on an app’s icon, you’ll find some additional options. You can open a Chrome app in its own window, for instance, which is useful if you want a desktop-type experience by having different apps and web services running discretely.

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