Chrome OS launcher to no longer show Play Store/Web Store apps when searching

Chrome OS Play Store results in launcher search

With Linux app support on Chromebooks becoming more widespread, the number of apps accessible for Chrome OS users will continue to skyrocket. Chromebook owners on devices like the Google Pixelbook can not only install apps from the Chrome Web Store but also the Google Play Store and from online sources hosting Debian packages. For most users, finding a new app on Chrome OS is as simple as searching for a term in the launcher. For example, if you search for “XDA” you’ll see Play Store listings for the XDA app, the XDA Feed app, and more. But having results like these show up in the launcher’s search may be confusing for users who use the search feature to find and launch apps they already installed. To address this confusion, the Chrome OS UX team decided to disable showing Play Store/Web Store results by default, likely starting in Chrome OS 70.

Chrome OS Play Store search
Chrome OS Web Store search

In an accompanying bug report, the Googler behind the commit states that Web Store search will be disabled “on all devices for M-70.” This means searching the launcher will no longer show results from the Google Play Store/Chrome Web Store once Chrome OS 70 rolls out in the stable channel, which should happen during the week of October 23rd.

Personally, I’m not too bothered by this feature being around, but I can understand why some people are. If you quickly pull up the launcher’s search to find one of your apps and you often tap the wrong item on accident, then you’ll be glad to see this feature disabled so the Play Store/Web Store results won’t get in your way. For those users who treat the launcher’s search page as a unified search hub for their files, installed apps, Chrome web history, Play Store apps, and Web Store apps, this decision could reduce discovery of new apps. I’m not sure what the best decision is, but the Chrome OS UX team feels that disabling it is the right way to go.

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