It appears that Google wants users to get more familiar with Chrome OS with the release of the “Chrome app launcher” for its popular web browser in all major platforms, which is sort of a new Start menu, but only for Chrome apps. Google says that users will have the same experience as the app launcher on Chromebooks.
The feature is currently available in the latest Windows dev channel version of the software ; Linux and OS X integration will be coming shortly, according to the company. And if you really want to experience how an app works with the launcher outside of the browser, you’ll need to install the IRC client CIRC or Text Drive. Because there aren’t many apps that take full advantage of the launcher just yet, as you’ll notice that by default, you can only open an app on a tab.
Google also noted that apps work offline and they have more access to APIs than regular web apps.
If you are testing out the dev channel version of Chrome, you’ll notice by default the Chrome app launcher doesn’t show in the Windows taskbar. So, how do you enable the feature? Easy, you need to type in the address bar: chrome://flags, do a search “Show Chrome App Launcher” and click the Enable link. Finally, restart the browser and you’ll now see a new icon added to the taskbar — Below I compiled a set of images of the new feature.
Source The Chromium Blog