Google’s Chrome OS has seen increased adoption in the education sector, prompting Microsoft to respond with Windows 10 S, a version of Windows focused on the classroom. Initially, most Chromebooks did not feature touch support, but since Google announced that Android apps would be coming to Chrome OS, some hardware makers like Asus, Samsung and Lenovo have started to release touch-enabled Chromebooks. Google has now decided to take advantage of these touchscreens with an updated launcher for Chrome OS, showcased on the latest Canary build.
The video shows off a redesigned desktop, with an app drawer similar to Android, and an integrated search bar. The new elements sit on top of the taskbar, so you can still use your Chromebook with a trackpad and keyboard as before. However, if your device has a touchscreen, you can swipe up to reveal all apps or tap to use the voice search function, which will open the results in a new Chrome window.
The new launcher is already live, so you can give it a go yourself. A word of caution though, if you use your Chromebook as your main computer, you may want to wait until the new features make it into a stable release, as Canary is a pre-beta channel with features that are still in development and often have bugs.