Chrome OS version 100 rolls out today with a redesigned app launcher

You can also make GIFs directly from your Chromebook's front-facing camera.


Yesterday, Google officially released version 100 of its Chrome browser, and today it's following suit by releasing version 100 of Chrome OS. While there weren't a lot of big features for Chrome 100 besides a new icon, the update for Chrome OS brings a handful of changes worth noting. Probably the most significant is a redesigned app launcher experience. When you press the "everything" button (where caps lock is on most keyboards) or click the circle icon on the lower left side of the screen, the new launcher pulls up in a window on the left side of your display rather than covering all your open windows. Longtime Chrome OS users might remember that this was how the launcher behaved years ago.

Besides that visual change, Google has made it easier to organize the apps you have installed. You can choose to sort them alphabetically or by color, and new apps you add will stick to that organization scheme. From a functional perspective, Google has also improved search results that come up when you type in the launcher, automatically pulling up information for your query without having to open more details in a browser window. The search field also can look through all your open tabs if you're trying to find a specific site you had open.

The next new feature is purely for fun — the camera app can now create GIFs. When you pop open the camera, you can choose to record a five-second video that'll automatically be turned into a GIF. Once that's done, you can share it to pretty much any app on your Chromebook or send it to an Android phone using the nearby share feature.

Google also improved the dictation feature on Chromebooks. Previously, you could dictate text into any text field on your device, but today Google is adding some editing features. Chrome OS now recognizes commands like "delete" to remove the last letter or "move to the next character" to adjust where your cursor is. Asking for "help" will also pull up a list of commands that you can use if you're not sure how to accomplish a specific task with your voice.

As is usually the case with most Chrome OS updates, these aren't exactly earth-shattering updates. But as Google now updates Chrome OS and the Chrome browser every four weeks, they're not all going to bring big features. But there are still a few quality of life improvements worth checking out once the update hits your device — I've always found managing the apps in my launcher a bit cumbersome, so I'm hoping today's update makes things a bit better.