Google Just Turned My Mac Into a Chromebook


Google has released initial versions of Chrome App Launcher for both Mac and Windows. Source: Google.

Last week during a Mac software update, I came across Google's Chrome App Launcher for an experimental edition of the browser, also known as Chromium. I've been unable to stop using it in the days since.

See, I'm a heavy user of Google services. I use Slides to create presentations like this one. I use Sheets to track my time writing and the resulting revenue. I use Docs for writing almost everything I submit to, including this article.

Yet App Launcher's capabilities don't begin and end with fast access to Google Drive. Indeed, anything I've added in the "Chrome Store," including apps that exist primarily on my Chromebook, are captured in App Launcher. WorkFlowy, TweetDeck, Hojoki, QuickBooks -- they're all accessible via Chrome on any of my devices. On my Mac I can launch them directly, just as if they were desktop apps.

Mac and PC users who have already created a machine-specific workflow won't care about these changes to Chrome. They won't be helpful. But for those with work that takes them from a desktop to a smartphone to a tablet and back again -- an increasing percentage of the American workforce, I suspect -- App Launcher might make getting things done just a tad easier.

Google wins, too. The search king gets to collect even more data without having to build and sell new hardware. Investors should love that idea: Motorola has suffered operating losses in each of the past five quarters.

What about Apple and Microsoft ? What does having Chrome App Launcher available for Mac and PC owners mean for them? Nothing, yet. Chrome is a threat only insofar as it leads to high-volume sales of Chromebooks. Google and its partners have yet to realize that, and it could be years before it does.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Google and owns shares of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Originally published