Google is getting rid of the Chrome app launcher for Windows, OS X, and Linux. If you don’t know what the Chrome app launcher is, well, that’s basically why Google is getting rid of it.
The Chrome app launcher is an icon that can sits in a computer’s taskbar or dock and allows for quick access to Chrome apps — it was meant, in part, to help blur the lines between desktop and web apps. But Google says that it’s found people “prefer to launch their apps from within Chrome,” so it’s decided to do away with it. (An app launcher will remain, however, in Chrome OS, where it’s a pretty core part of the interface.)
The app launcher will begin disappearing from Chrome “over the next several months.” In a few weeks, Google will stop including it as part of Chrome. Then in July, it’ll be removed for people who already have it.
The feature’s removal comes as Google continues to hunt for ways to simplify and speed up Chrome, following continued criticism of its growing sluggishness and heavy power use. Late last year, Google removed Chrome’s desktop notification center icon for the very same reason — because no one was using it — saying at the time that the change was meant to simplify the experience for users.