It's been a few days since Chrome OS 91 landed on Chromebooks, which introduced helpful features like Nearby Share and a competent media player. Following its release, we've been digging into the new update and uncovering even more that could improve your Chromebook experience. Here are three experimental but helpful features we've found that you can try right now.
Following Chrome 91's release for mobile and desktop platforms, Chrome OS 91 is launching on eligible Chromebooks. The major update introduces a sprinkle of new features that'll sweeten the user experience — here are all the important bits Google announced today.
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.
Google loves iterating on software design, but it often takes some time for its new ideas to trickle down to all its products. The refreshed Material Design principles visible in applications like Gmail are present in some parts of Chrome OS, but not others. That's changing soon, though, as the operating system's decidedly stale Files browser is getting a refresh.
Fans of third-party cloud storage providers will be excited when Chrome OS 75 finally reaches the Stable Channel. The update will deliver an optional flag which enables storage services other than Drive to finally integrate into the Files app in Chrome OS via Android apps — though not all third-party storage solutions are compatible.
Android's built-in file manager hasn't received much love over the years. In fact, until the Oreo update, it didn't even have its own icon in the launcher on stock Android. The app has received a facelift in the Android Q beta, along with a few new features.
Android apps generally work well on Chrome OS these days, but there was one nagging issue left unresolved - file management. While you could access the Chrome OS Downloads folder from Android apps, the Chrome Files app couldn't see the entire Android file system. At long last, that is finally changing.