This past July, Google released a Chrome app launcher for Windows. Today, Mac users can finally get in on the fun, as Google has released a developer preview of the app launcher for Mac. The Chrome app launcher allows you to open your favorite Google apps like Gmail and Drive right from your dock.
Using the app launcher is simple. Click on the dock icon and a popup menu opens showing the apps you currently have installed. Each app will open in its own window outside of Chrome, just like any normal desktop program.
Most apps are streamlined for use, meaning you're free from normal tabs, buttons and text boxes that might normally distract you from your work. They're also connected to the cloud, silently updating themselves and your work without the hassles of hitting save. Your apps are also synced across your devices, allowing you to pick up your work regardless of where you last left off.
Again, Google has released this as a developer preview, but if you'd like to try the app launcher for yourself, you can give it a try by completing the following steps:
1) You need to make sure you're on the most recent version of Chrome (typically, Chrome keeps itself updated nicely, so just restarting occasionally should do the trick).
2) Enable the app launcher by entering chrome://flags into the address bar of Chrome, and then and locating and enabling "App Launcher OSX App Bundle." It may be easier to hit Cmd+F and search for "launcher" -- it's approximately 2/3 of the way down the page.
3) Once you've enabled the extension, relaunch Chrome.
4) Go browse the selection of desktop apps in the Chrome Web Store, find one you'd like to try and install it, then launch it once it's installed.
5) Once the app has launched, you should now be able to find the Chrome App Launcher in your Applications folder under Chrome Apps.
From there, you can open the launcher, or drag the icon into your dock for easy access. Head over to Google's blog for more information on the launcher as well as suggestions on apps that work with it.