We’ve written several articles about the need for Google’s Chromebook launcher to evolve with the times. With the introduction of the Google Play Store to devices years ago and the new hotness of Progressive Web Apps (PWA), the ‘app drawer’ on our laptops has become a cluttered mess. Yes, you can place apps and web apps into folders, and you can even move folders around. Yes, searching is also the most efficient way to locate something and open it with ease. However, the ability to alphabetize or sort apps in the launcher to make better sense of what one has collected is a long-overdue feature that the company seems to have decided to ignore, despite our cries.

Interestingly, 9to5Google has discovered a new Chromium Repository commit that seeks to introduce a developer flag for the long-sought-after launcher sorting. There’s currently little information on exactly what sorting methods the new feature will bring about with it, but the fact that it will finally officially exist is a Godsend. I recently took time to mock up what app sorting would look like using my Material You designs for Chrome OS, and before that, I mocked it up once again using the current launcher design. It’s rudimentary but makes the most sense.

Enable sorting apps on the launcher

Enable sorting the app icons shown on the launcher.

#launcher-apps-sort

My initial app launcher sorting mockup

The company also recently introduced launcher categories to help clear the clutter, but while we’re incredibly excited to be receiving app sorting as an additional improvement, we aren’t expecting it any time soon, though we hope to be surprised. While digging into the commit, we discovered that the expiry milestone for this feature flag is Chrome OS 105, which is obviously quite a ways off as we’re only on Chrome OS 91 right now (well, most of us, anyway). This means that the dev team will have to either implement it before then or nix it entirely if it doesn’t work out the way they hope.

{
“name”:”launcher-apps-sort”,
“owners”:[“andrewxu”, “cros-system-ui-eng@google.com” ],
“expiry_milestone”: 105
}

Despite this, this will be one major item that we can check off of our wishlist for launcher updates. Next, if Google can fix the server-side pacing, we’d be in a good spot. Currently, moving around apps and deleting them doesn’t stick – a simple reboot will revert any progress you made to clean things up or manually organize them, and it’s extremely frustrating! Are you interested in simply having alphabetical sorting for your launcher, or would you want to have more options available? If so, what options would those be? Let me know in the comments!


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