Even though Android is the most popular smartphone OS globally — on more than two billion active devices — not many apps join the exclusive 1-billion-downloads club. Among those that make it, Google is unsurprisingly the most popular developer. Its latest app to pass this milestone is Files by Google.
Earlier this year, Google Lens hit 500 million downloads on the Play Store. For an app that isn't pre-installed on many devices, this milestone does point out how helpful it really is, and it's only getting better thanks to a new update that makes it easier to select the images you want to be analyzed.
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.
The unthinkable happened: You just deleted the wrong file by accident, and it happened to be a school essay that you spent days working on. If you didn't save a backup of the document on your Chromebook, unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to get that file back. With Windows, the Recycle Bin gives us a second chance to restore a file or folder you deleted from the file manager, but with a Chromebook, the files are permanently erased from your device. It sure looks like the developers at Google have become sympathetic to us accidental-deleters, and are working on a way to bring back recently deleted files.
It's no secret that the file manager on Chrome OS has been a sore point for users ever since Chromebooks were first introduced to the world as cloud-centric computers. It seems like Google hastily threw in a file browser at the last moment and expected only a few people to use it. Although development on the built-in file manager has stagnated over the years, Google recently introduced small quality-of-life features to make it more efficient (like finally adding "Open File Location" to the context menu). It now looks like Google is trying to improve productivity even further by cleaning up clutter from the navigation pane.
The second Developer Preview of Android 11 replaced the built-in file manager with Files by Google, the same application that was already present on the Play Store (and pre-installed on Android Go phones). However, the Files app on Android 11 has a slightly different appearance than the same app on Android 10 phones, and there is some added functionality.
A long-time darling of Android aficionados, Astro File Manager hasn't always had a look befitting its excellent functionality. That changed somewhat through the 7.x version updates, with certain parts of the interface getting refreshed here and there — bottom tabs had been introduced by v7.9, for example. Now version 8 is upon us, and the Astro team has delivered an even more dramatic overhaul. The home page has been completely restyled and the much-requested dark mode has also arrived.
Android manufacturers resort to three strategies when updating the apps they've built into their phones: they can keep them bundled with the system and only update them with new firmware versions, they can install their own store on the phone and issue updates through it, or they simply publish these apps on the Play Store for faster and easier updates for everyone. The latter is obviously the most consumer-friendly solution and OnePlus' File Manager can now count itself in its ranks.
Xiaomi has introduced a system-wide dark mode in version 10 of its MIUI software, but the company is still in the process of darkening all its apps, including non-system ones. The latest app to receive that treatment is the Mi File Manager, but that's not the only change in its most recent update.