It's been two years since Google decoupled its Drive and Photos services for a "simplified experience," preventing pictures from syncing to its cloud-based storage. For many, managing images from Google Photos became a lot less streamlined on Chrome OS: you'd have to download your pictures from the Google Photos app to organize them in the file manager. Several users have expressed frustrations about the lacking synergy between Photos and the files app, citing how frustrating it is to import a selection of images to Chrome OS. However, that might be changing soon, as we discovered a pair of work-in-progress commits that hint at deeper Google Photos integration into the file manager.

As seen recently in the Chromium Gerrit, the developers are laying the groundwork for Google Photos to reside in the Chrome OS file manager's navigation pane. This commit explains you'll be able to see your Google Photos uploads when selecting files in the file picker.

[filesapp] Only show Photos volume in file picker.

Google Photos volume should only be shown when picking files in Chrome OS, and hidden when browsing or picking files in ARC.

BUG=1170198

For reference, ARC (or rather, ARC++) integrates the Android subsystem deeply into Chrome OS, allowing you to run Google Play apps on your Chromebook. There's not much to see here, but if we look inside select_file_ash.cc, a snippet of code adds an entry point for Google Photos on the Chrome OS file manager's navigation pane. However, in arc_select_files_handler.cc, Google Photos won't show up on the Android file picker.

The other commit adds a large bulk of code that implements a welcome banner and Google Photos' visibility logic to the Chrome OS files manager.

[filesapp] Add a welcome banner for Android Photos

Show a welcome banner for the Android Photos DocumentsProvider volume. The banner is shown up to 3 times unless dismissed.

BUG=1171651

Inside file_manager_strings.gdrp, the strings confirm that you'll be able to browse and select your recent photos from within the file manager, which is a massive win for those wanting deeper Google Photos integration. You'll have to install the Android app version of Google Photos for it to show up on the navigation pane.

Integrating Google Photos into the file manager will undoubtedly be a massive time saver for those who want to import pictures from Google Photos into Chrome OS quickly. At this time, it's unclear if Google will merge the commits into the Chromium source code. We'll continue to keep an eye out for changes and will update when we discover more.

  • Thanks:
  • Hamzah Malik