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What My Desktop (And Toolbar Of Apps) Looks Like

A little while back I wrote about Six Months With My Google Pixelbook Go. I won't repeat the entirety of what I wrote, but I'll summarise it like this: in a world of 5G, more compute power than ever, and a mix of devices, I don't "get" the need for native apps on desktop.

Every software product I use on desktop (and, increasingly on mobile) runs in the browser. And, increasingly, software products I use on mobile are browser-based. Like Mailbrew - check out what an "installed" mobile web app can do when it's built in the right way:

It's been almost 5 years since I wrote "Browsers, not apps, are the future of mobile" and - while I'll admit we're not there yet - that statement still feels directionally true.

In case you're wondering what a computer with no natively installed apps looks like, here's a screenshot of my Pixelbook Go desktop and toolbar. The only "native app" is Chrome and even then that's not strictly true. The operating system is the browser, so it's more of an OS shortcut.

I've written about a few of these apps before - n8n, Gitpod, and Simple Analytics. No doubt I'll write about more of them over time, but one great "feature" of "installing" browser based apps is this: you have full control over which screen each shortcut directs to.

No more opening an app and clicking a few levels deep to get to the part of the app you usually start with or spend most time in. Every page, screen and workspace on the web "lives" at a unique url. And each of these urls is - in theory, at least - an "app." Makes for much faster workflows.

You might notice my background isn't very... exciting. I've been a "dark mode" background guy for a long time. It started as a battery saving exercise, before I realised I just don't like clutter or glare.

Before I sign off, worth mentioning my Pixelbook Go is my "personal" computing device. My "work" device is a Lenovo Thinkpad running Windows.