KDE Popup Launcher can replace Google Chrome App Launcher

posted 12 Aug 2016


Google took away the Chrome App Launcher that I used daily. It was the primary reason I decided that I would start using Google Apps more frequently. The feature’s removal comes as Google continues to hunt for ways to simplify and speed up Chrome, due to continued criticism of its growing sluggishness and heavy resource usage. I have a hard time believing that this small feature was a memory hog. Regardless, it’s gone and now the little icon in the corner just opens up Chrome. If I only had one Google identity this would not be a problem.

My work flow used to be, click on the Chrome App Launcher, select identity, click on the program and done. Now I have to open Chrome, wait for it to load into memory, click on the identity button in the upper right-hand corner, select switch person, wait for the new Chrome session to open, close the other session find the app in the Chrome apps page, open the app. I don’t have a solution on Windows 7 (work computer) at this time other than just don’t use my other identity. On my Linux box, where I use multiple identities, I find this to be annoying and unacceptable. Thankfully, if you are running KDE on openSUSE Linux (or any other distribution), there is a fine solution, KDE Popup Launcher. The latest version as of today is 1.1 (2016.04.17).

I can’t help but to think of those obviously over dramatized infomercials for some widget or gadget to make life easier…

This replacement for Chrome App Launcher is an add-on for KDE Plasma 5 Workspace only.

Installing KDE Popup Launcher

In the lower right hand corner of the panel, unless you have locked it, click the little wrench.

Look for the button: + Add Widgets…


On the bottom of the next dialog box, Select Get new widgets

Then Select, Download New Plasma Widgets

A new dialog box will appear.

In the search field enter “Popup Launcher”

Browse the details if you like once you are ready select Install to add it to KDE

In the widgets dialog, search “Popup Launcher” once again.

Drag it to your desired location. I put it next to the Application Menu in the lower Left hand corner

Now you have a menu with nothing in it.

Create Chrome Application Desktop Icons


Open up Chrome and go to the Apps page

To do this, within the Chrome address bar enter: “chrome://apps/”

or using the point and click icon method from the bookmarks bar if it is available to you.

Right Click on the icon of the application you want to put in the pop up widget

Select Create Shortcut…

Next you have the choice of selecting if you want it on the Desktop and / or in the Application Menu. At a minimum, add it to the Application Menu.

Edit Application Name

I have multiple Google Personas so I need to know if it is Google Keep personal or Google Keep Work. I need to be able to know the difference in the menu. You may want to edit the name in the application menu as well. This can be done by opening the Application Menu > Chrome Apps then right click on the application you want to rename select “Edit Application…”

A dialog box will appear. Select the 3rd Tab, Application and change the Name of the application to be something that will queue you to the persona that this application is associated with.

Select OK

Add Items in KDE Popup Launcher


Next you have to actually add Your Google Keep, Google Play Music or any other applications to the Popup Launcher

Right-click on the Popup Launcher icon and select Popup Launcher Settings…

Select + Add application

Another dialog will pop up with all the available programs that are in your Application Menu

Select the programs you want, arrange them in whatever order you would like and your are done.

Now you have your very own Chrome App Launcher that isn’t even Chrome related at all and I’m sure the authors didn’t even intend on it being a Chrome App Launcher replacement. This has restored my workflow and I have eliminated another annoyance from my daily information systems journey.