Chromebooks with support for Android apps could soon gain the ability to access app shortcuts following a recent commit to Chrome OS. That would bring a functionality to the system that was previously only found in the mobile OS. Namely, it allows for quick actions to be taken directly from an app icon rather than needing to open an app and navigate through the U.I. For example, in Android, users can long press the Gmail icon. That brings up options for key app functions. In short, a user can jump straight to composing a new email without having to enter the app first. For apps like YouTube, that same feature allows the app to preload a quick search, trending videos, or a user's subscriptions. The new code was added to the Dev Channel of the system and the feature appears to work the same way on Chrome OS as it does for Android users.
Of course, since the feature is still in testing on the developer-focused side of the OS, it is currently only accessible via Chrome's hidden 'flags' menu. That flag is also disabled by default so users who happen to be on the Dev Channel and interested in checking it out will need to navigate to "chrome://flags/#enable-touchable-app-context-menu" in order to turn it on. Setting that to 'enabled' in the drop-down menu will accomplish that, though a restart will be required for the feature to be completely implemented. Once turned on, the new shortcuts can be seen by either holding down the 'alt' key while clicking on an app icon or by long-pressing the icon on a Chromebook's touchscreen. Those should be fairly intuitive to use for Android users since they are sorted in exactly the same way on both operating systems. The code also indicates that both dynamic and static shortcuts will be included. That means that more standard options such as those listed above will be shown alongside more personalized or context-aware options.
There's currently no information available as to when the shortcuts might make their way out to the more widely used Stable Channel of the OS. However, once it does it will most likely be implemented at the system level and accessible to every device running the latest version of Chrome with Android app support.