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Chrome OS now includes Google Now in launcher, providing a customized experience

The next version of Google’s Chrome OS launcher will push the company’s original service, its search tool, that bit more, by including a Google Now bar along the top of it. The search bar will sit right alongside shortcuts to your applications and some Google Now cards giving you information on local weather, upcoming events based on your calendar and other personal information linked to your habits and preferences. For example, the launcher might highlight a concert from a band you enjoy that’s happening near you.

Of course you’ll need to be a Chrome OS beta user and have Google Now enabled in order to reap the benefits from the  answer-before-you-ask service, but if you are and you do, there’s soon to be a bunch of handy information at your finger tips.

Related: Can a polished Chrome OS really replace Windows? We tested.

Since the launcher is the Chrome OS’ equivalent of the start button – in that it’s the place you go when you want to do almost anything – it makes sense to have even more functions built into it. More so, since searching via Google is one of the most common tasks people complete on their PC, it’s a useful place to put Google Now. Improvements like this seem small individually, but put Google’s operating system that much closer to Windows competition.

Other new features coming as part of the update include the ability to unzip password protected files and a method of remembering the code for you; an automatic update to the system’s timezone, meaning you won’t ever need to manually tweak your date and time when traveling again, and on top of that, a number of applications have had facelifts. Do some digging to see which ones you can find with a fresh coat of paint.

What do you think of the new additions to the Chrome OS beta app launcher?