Chrome OS Files App Slated for Linux and Android Centric Improvements

With Android app support already there and Linux support on its way, Chrome OS has a platform is evolving quickly.  That evolution means that how we view and use our Chromebook has to change too, particularly the Files app.  A new commit and a new flag in the Chrome OS Dev Channel gives us a solid clue as to where the file management app built into the platform is heading.

The commit points to there being a revamp of the Files app to allow for four distinct sections:  My Drive (Google Drive and Team Drive if you have a G Suite account), Linux files, Android Files, and File System Providers like Microsoft’s OneDrive or Dropbox.

Support for showing Android files in the File app is already available as a flag in the Chrome OS Beta Channel (Chrome 68).  But this new flag, to show Linux files, is in the Chrome OS Dev Channel (Chrome 69).  To show it, you need to use the flag chrome://flags/#new-files-app-navigation to enable it.

As with any commit found in the Chromium Gerrit, it is a bit of an tea leaf reading exercise.  Things change, often, for Chrome OS and while it looks like this will be here in a few months, that could change if significant issues are found with it.  The good news that supports this new File app view sooner rather than later is the fact that Linux (Crostini) support is ramping up quickly and we could see all of this come out in one release.

The team over at Chrome Story have put together a nice mock-up of what this new Files app could look like based on the commit.