It’s been two years since Google disconnected the Drive and Photos services for a “simplified experience” and prevented photos from being synced with cloud-based storage. For many, managing photos from Google Photos became much less streamlined in Chrome OS: you need to download your photos from the Google Photos app to organize them in the file manager. Several users have expressed frustration over the lack of synergy between the Photos and Files app, citing how frustrating it is to import a selection of photos into Chrome OS. However, that may soon change, as we discovered a couple of ongoing commitments that suggest deeper Google Photos integration in the file manager.
As recently seen in Chromium Gerrit, developers are laying the groundwork for Google Photos to be in the Chrome OS file manager̵
[filesapp] Show only Images volume in file selector.
The Google Photos volume should only appear when you pick files in Chrome OS, and hidden when you browse or pick files in ARC.
BUG = 1170198
For reference, ARC (or rather ARC ++) integrates the Android subsystem deep into Chrome OS, so you can run Google Play apps on your Chromebook. There is not much to see here, but if we look inward select_file_ash.cc, a snippet of code adds a Google Photo entry point to the Chrome OS File Manager’s navigation pane. However, in arc_select_files_handler.cc, Google Photos does not appear in the Android file selector.
The second commitment adds a large portion of the code that implements a welcome banner and Google Photos visibility logic in the Chrome OS file manager.
[filesapp] Add a welcome banner for Android Photos
View a welcome banner for the volume of Android Photos DocumentsProvider. The banner is displayed up to 3 times unless it is rejected.
BUG = 1171651
Inside file_manager_strings.gdrp, the strings confirm that you can browse and select your latest photos from the file manager, which is a huge benefit for those who want deeper integration of Google Photos. You need to install the Android app version of Google Photos for it to appear in the navigation pane.
Integrating Google Photos into the file manager will undoubtedly be a huge time saver for those who want to quickly import photos from Google Photos to Chrome OS. It’s unclear at this time whether Google will merge its Chromium source code obligations. We will continue to keep an eye on changes and will be updated as we discover more.