Over the past several weeks Google has been rolling out a new look for its New Tab page, adding a search bar, removing the black bar that once occupied the top of the screen (on all Google sites) and moving access to Apps. The latter can now be accessed by clicking the nine-box grid icon on the left of the menu bar from any website.
On Google properties, such as Gmail, a new launcher now appears displaying the same grid as the menu bar, though minus the colors. The launcher contains nine Google applications — Google+, Search, YouTube, Maps, Play, News, Gmail, Drive and Calendar.
You can access other sites by clicking the “More” button at the bottom of the Luncher, but you can not choose what apps appear in the default nine…until now.
A new Chrome extension, aptly named “App Launcher Customizer for Google” has made an appearance in the Chrome Web Store, with the aim of doing exactly what the name implies.
According to the developer, “it allows you to customize the app launcher and add more then 170 Google shortcuts. And it is not limited to these 170 Google shortcuts; the extension also allows you to create custom shortcuts to every website you want”.
Once installed, head to the “Tools” menu and click “Extensions”, then scroll down to find the add-on and click “Options”. This will open the control panel for the extension.
The dashboard is divided into two panes — the right one displays the apps currently contained in the Launcher, while the left shows the long list of options you have.
The list is far too long to write here, and much of what is contained in it likely will not be chosen by very many users, but some of the more popular Google choices that didn’t make the cut as a default item can be found here. There are also some interesting, but less known sites like the Google TV home and Chrome Web Experiments. You can also suggest sites for the developer to add in future updates.
The is version 1.0, but already contains a surprisingly long list of choices. Its also very easy to use and fills the immediate need that Google just created.