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Your Chromebook launcher may soon receive search categories to prevent information overload

First spotted by Dinsan over at Chrome Story, a new Chromium Repository commit points to the possible addition of a developer flag that will allow Chromebook users to search the launcher categorically. “Wait, what exactly does that mean”, you may ask. Well, we don’t exactly know yet, but I have an idea of what it could look like to have categories appear in the launcher, so let’s discuss!

[Launcher] Add chrome flag for launcher categorical search

Bug: 1199206

Let’s say, for example, that you press the Everything button on your Chromebook in order to find something. If you type in, oh, I don’t know, let’s go with ‘help’ – you’d be presented with a bunch of options from a bunch of sources. Not only would you get results from the web, but you’d also get Google Drive files, bookmarks, history, Play Store app suggestions, apps and web apps already installed on the device, custom settings and options built into your Chromebook, and more.

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That’s quite a bit of information to look at in a long list with almost no separation or distinction between each item aside from an icon! See my example below for some insight into what I mean, and no, I don’t have any clue why Five Nights at Freddy’s appeared as an app suggestion, but that’s a bit creepy, right?

This new Launcher categorical search flag, should it prove to be useful – and I imagine it will – could one day become a feature on all Chromebooks. Imagine searching for something and getting an outline around each category of search results, or perhaps even a filter system at the top not unlike Windows 10 search. The more I think about it, the more I’m baffled that this hasn’t already been implemented.

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As Chrome OS matures, it’s clear that the development team is focusing on those features that will truly make it stand out in the marketplace more than it already does. In many instances, it feels like Google is playing catch up, but with Windows, Linux, and macOS having over two decades on it, that’s to be expected. What other features would you like to see the launcher pick up? Perhaps the ability to organize or alphabetize it? Yeah, me too.

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