Google retires Chrome App Launcher for Windows, here’s how to launch Google apps from Desktop

Andrew Wafer
by Andrew Wafer
Read more
Affiliate Disclosure

Google announced that it discontinued its Chrome App Launcher for Windows Desktop. The program will also be discontinued from Mac, but it will remain as a standard feature of Google’s own Chrome OS. Google’s precise reason for retiring the Chrome App Launcher from Windows and Mac has to do with users opening apps directly from the browser:

“We’ve found that users on Windows, Mac, and Linux prefer to launch their apps from within Chrome,” Chrome engineering director Marc Pawliger explains in [a new post to the Chromium blog](Marc Pawliger). “With Chrome’s continued emphasis on simplicity and streamlining browser features, the launcher will be removed from those platforms. It will remain unchanged on Chrome OS.”

As Thurrott points out, it is possible that most users are not even aware of the fact that they’re able to run their Google apps directly from the desktop. On the other hand, some users just find it easier to run Google apps within the browser so they don’t have to interrupt their work.

How to run Google apps from Windows Desktop

Although Google retired its Chrome App Launcher, you’re still able to run your favorite Chrome apps from the desktop — you just need to perform a simple trick. To make your Google apps accessible from Desktop, do the following:

  1. Open a Google app within browser (Google Play Music, Gmail Inbox, Google Photos, basically any service you want)
  2. Go to Tools > More tools
  3. Go to Add to Desktop, and the following window will appearchrome apps desktop
  4. Rename your app, and check “Mark as window”
  5. Click OK, and you’re good to go

Once you save your desired app to Desktop, you’ll be able to use it just like you use other apps in Windows. It will open in its own window separately from Google Chrome, but the user experience will be same as in the browser. You can also pin the shortcut to the taskbar or the Start Menu just as you would with any other regular Windows app.


Leave a comment below!

add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Oh wow – is it going away from the bookmark bar as well? I assumed they would keep that instead. This solution you present kind of sucks.

The solution he presents isn’t the best. It’s only appeal is that it enables Chrome apps to open like Windows apps. What he fails to mention is that you may wish to pin those Chrome app shortcuts to the Windows taskbar.

Your solution is far superior, primarily because Chrome syncs your personalized apps shortcut Web page on every device that you use. Procedure: (1) Toggle the bookmarks bar ON using Ctrl+Shift+B; (2) Right-click on the bookmarks bar; (3) Select “Show apps shortcut”; (4) Click on the colorful new 3² box icon that appears on the bookmarks bar to display your apps shortcut Web page.

Of course, the best option of all is to ditch Windows and simply to use a Chrome OS device.

It’s even easier than this… in the Apps tab, right click on an app and select “Create shortcuts…” From there you can put a shortcut on the desktop, in the task bar, and even in the Start menu.

But I also agree with RMP… simply get a Chrome OS device. Who uses software anymore, aside from some who use specialized business or technical packages? Your average home user does (or can easily do) just about everything they need with web apps.