All about Google Chrome & Google Chrome OS

30 Apr 12 Chrome OS gets first taste of Google Drive integration

When they first first took the wraps off Google Drive, Google had only Android, Windows, and Mac software available for us to sync our files. Chrome OS wouldn’t be far behind, said senior VP Sundar Pichai — and he wasn’t kidding.

Just days later, Google Drive integration surfaced in the Developer channel build of Chrome OS. After an update and a reboot, the file manager finally displayed something other than the Downloads folder. There sits Google Drive, albeit in a very nascent and unfinished state.

My Samsung Chromebook had some trouble pulling up the contents of my Google Drive at first, which appeared to be a conflict with my corporate firewall. As it struggled to connect, I noticed something that made it quite obvious that Google has been working on this type of integration for a while: the loading animation reads Google Docs instead of Google Drive. Once I was connected to my home Wi-Fi network, the Drive tab loaded up just fine.

There’s a long way to go before Drive integration is ready for the Stable channel of Chrome OS, but what’s already there is a very good start. Chrome’s save as dialog can write directly to Google Drive, and it’s easy enough to upload via the file manager — just copy a file from your downloads folder and paste it where you want it to go on Google Drive. Within seconds, it’s up in the cloud and heading for your other Google-synced computers.

Extensions that support saving content to a disk — like media grabbers and downloaders — don’t work too well at this point. Several of the extensions I tried became unresponsive after I’d clicked save, though Webcam Toy was able to capture an image from the Chromebook’s camera and save it directly to Google Drive without issue.

Another feature that isn’t working yet is offline support — but that’s coming, too. Google Docs offline access works just fine on Chrome OS if you’ve got the app installed, so it’s likely just a matter of retooling things — though some controls will need to be added. Now that Google Drive is hoovering up files from Windows and Mac systems and Android devices, Google will need to make sure that we can select individual folders and files to push to our Chromebooks’ minimal internal storage.

With a window manager, taskbar, and flexible access to Google Drive coming together, Chrome OS is steadily evolving into more than just a bootable web browser.

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