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Chrome OS beta is getting a new launcher with Google Now

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Intrepid folks running Chrome OS beta will soon get to test a huge new feature that's not quite ready for stable release: Chrome Launcher 2.0. This version looks more like a new tab on the Chrome browser than the platform's current, more traditional one that's basically a windows that shows app icons -- it even has its own search bar. It also comes integrated with Google Now that shows your appointment, flight, reminder, etc. cards if you use the feature on a mobile device or two. Of course, since it's still a launcher, it has an app list you can access when needed.

In addition to a new launcher, the upcoming update will give Chrome OS beta the power to automatically update its timezone while traveling and to unzip password-protected files. Finally, Google's bringing its Material Design over to the platform, but only for the File icon -- at this point anyway. To be able to test these features, you'll need to migrate to the beta channel through the Settings page and wait for the update to roll out to your device next week.

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