Android app shortcuts arrive on Chrome OS

In a move that makes Chromebooks and Chrome tablets even more like Android devices, Google has added long-press app shortcuts to Android apps on Chrome OS. These behave just as they do on an Android phone: A tap and hold brings up contextual shortcuts.

Don’t get too excited to try these just yet though. According to Google’s own François Beaufort, you’ll have to be running the Dev Channel on your Chrome OS device. Beta and Stable Channel users need not apply as this feature isn’t likely to hit those until the version 69 update that will also bring support for Linux apps.

Even if you do run on the Dev Channel, you’ll need to enable a flag for this feature. Type chrome://flags/#enable-touchable-app-context-menu in your browser and toggle the setting to “Enabled”. Restart your browser and you’ll be able to quickly get to shortcuts for your Android apps whether they’re pinned to the Shelf or in the Chrome OS App Launcher.

6 thoughts on “Android app shortcuts arrive on Chrome OS

  • July 11, 2018 at 12:53 pm
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    This is awesome news. chromeos 69 with shortcuts, gboard, notification dot and Linux application support is going to make it one of the best update.
    kevin, Could you do a video review of crostini (how to enable, install, uninstall, limitations etc)? its hard to find a video review of linux app support on youtube

    Reply
  • July 11, 2018 at 1:14 pm
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    Frankly, I hadn’t missed this capability, probably because I would typically be using a mouse/trackpad rather than touching the screen to explore app shortcut options. Still, this change is auspicious to me. That’s because it possibly suggests being one step closer to closing a very serious gap in Android apps on Chrome OS. The gap is that you can use touch to long-press or drag-over to select/highlight displayed text in many Android apps, and thereby cause a context menu to pop up for that text; but no equivalent mouse action exist. At least no equivalent mouse action that I’ve discovered. So you’re forced to use touch, and that’s not at all seamless.

    Reply
  • July 11, 2018 at 5:36 pm
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    I’m on beta channel and I have this already (with flag enabled).

    Reply
    • July 11, 2018 at 10:22 pm
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      Thanks Tim! The timing of your comment was perfect too: I was live on “This Week in Google” and at the end of the show, I mentioned this new feature, along with the fact that it was working on the Beta Channel for some folks.

      Reply
  • July 12, 2018 at 12:53 am
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    No worries. It’s a great feature for the apps that make use of it.

    Reply
  • September 24, 2018 at 7:01 am
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    This is awesome. Android app shortcuts are very useful .

    Reply

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