Open Source

Add the Chrome App Launcher to the Unity Launcher

Jack Wallen walks you through the process of getting the Google App Launcher on your Ubuntu Unity Launcher to make using Google Apps even more efficient.

Google Apps Launcher

I depend on Google Apps throughout the day, and I'm always looking for ways to improve efficiency. To that end, I was thrilled when I finally was able to add the Chrome App Launcher to Ubuntu Unity's Launcher.

With this launcher, getting to your favorite Google Apps is just a click away (well, actually, a couple of clicks). You can also trigger a web search (without having to first open Chrome). This little app is included in Chrome OS out-of-the-box, and both Windows and Mac have enjoyed it for quite some time. Now, Linux can enjoy it as well. Here's how to get it up and running.

Open up your Chrome browser and enter the following in the address bar:

chrome://flags/#enable-app-list

At the top of the page, you should see a listing for the App Launcher (Figure A). Within that listing, you should see a link to Enable the feature. Click that link.

Figure A

Figure A

Here you see the App Launcher enabled.

When prompted, restart Google Chrome. If you're not prompted, restart it anyway. At this point, you should now see the App Launcher. Click it (Figure B) to reveal all of the included apps (what you've installed on Chrome).

Figure B

Figure B

The Chrome App Launcher in action.

Right-click the App Launcher icon and select Lock to Launcher. This will ensure the App Launcher remains on the Unity Launcher, even when Chrome is closed.

Now, click on the App Launcher and select an app to launch. You can also click on the search bar and type a search entry. When the search results appear (Figure C), click on an entry to open the page.

Figure C

Figure C

Searching within the Google App Launcher.

You can also right-click an icon within the launcher and select to open in a new window, open in a new tab, remove from Chrome, open maximized, and view in store. If you notice something missing from the Launcher, it means it hasn't been added to Chrome. Effectively, what's in your Chrome Apps Tab will be in the launcher. For example, when I first added the Launcher, I noticed the Google Calendar icon missing. The only way to get that icon added was to open the Chrome Web Store and add the Calendar app to Chrome.

It is also possible to group icons together (to keep your launcher neat and tidy). To do this simply click and drag an icon onto another to create a group.

If you're looking for one of the fastest ways to get to your Google Apps, and you use Linux, the Google App Launcher might be your best bet. Give this a try and see if it doesn't make your interaction with Google Apps more efficient.

Do you rely heavily upon Google? If so, what other ways have you found to make the process more efficient?

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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