Google Photos integration into ChromeOS Files App Closer

For the longest time, we Chromebook users have been hoping for the official integration of ChromeOS Files and Google Photos. After all, on the Pixel Phone, Google Photos is the actual gallery and editing app and serves as a great tool for presenting just the right photo when needed for whatever app you want to use. Instead of finding, downloading, transferring, transferring, and uploading a photo I took a few days ago on Instagram, I can simply choose to add a new photo, choose from Google Photos as one of my storage options, and choose which photo I want to share. It’s sleek, easy, and clean, and we’ve really wanted this on Chromebooks for quite some time now.

To be fair, there are a few links out there currently for this type of behavior on a Chromebook, but it doesn’t work across the board and isn’t meant for web-based activities at all. If you have installed the Google Photos Android app, you will have a Google Photos section in your Files app, but it unfortunately disappears the moment you need to use it as a file picker for a web-based task. If the app you use to pull your file picker runs on Android, you’ll have the option to choose from your Google Photos library.

To illustrate this, let me show you a scenario. if you open And choose Add New Post, when the Files app appears as my file picker, there are no Google Photos to choose from in the sidebar. If I do the exact same task with the Instagram Android app, you’ll notice that the Files app now appears on Google Photos as a location I can choose from.

Google Photos and Files App

This is obviously half a metric, and I hope to see it corrected in a future update. Google Photos is a powerful search/editing tool And the A sortable place to access all your photos and videos, so it would make sense to see them hit the ChromeOS Files app at some point. Although it’s not clear how to do this if they choose to, I think we can look at another part of the operating system to see exactly how Google Photos might be integrated into the Files app in the future. I think the answer lies in the updated background picker in ChromeOS’s personalization settings.

There in the top row, you may notice a new option for choosing your wallpaper: Google Photos. I wasn’t sure how well this would work at first, but it was great and does exactly what you’d expect. When you click the Google Photos button, you’re taken to the same timeline view you get in the app or on the web, and you can also choose to pull from albums you’ve created as well.

From there, you can choose a single image for the wallpaper or choose the entire album and have it automatically refresh in the background. It’s a great option that will allow users to not only easily update wallpapers with their own photos, but also keep these options seamlessly synced between devices without the need for additional file management at all.

It’s well done and well implemented, but the background picker is only a shadow of what could come across the Files app if Google chose to migrate what they did here. Imagine that Google Photos is an option located directly within Google Drive as an installed file option, allowing literally the same interface that Google already introduced in the background picker. The Personalization Hub and Files App are both web apps for the system, so there’s no real reason why you can’t basically copy all of this from one to the other.

If that’s the case, you can then imagine a future where you go to choose an image to upload to a web or Android app and as one of your options, simply click on Google Photos in the left sidebar, look at your collection of photos, and choose the one you want. Perhaps in the future a simple Google Image search could also be included, but for now, the same app we have in the wallpaper picker would be just as good as a starting point.

Will Google take this step? We do not know for sure, But there is no reason why they should not do so at this point. There are even some changes in Chromium Gerrit to indicate it. The integration they have included in the wallpaper picker is proof enough for me that this extension is not only possible but can be done in a simple and usable way Immediately. If this isn’t on your very near roadmap, I certainly hope this post will prompt someone at Google to consider putting it there. It will be one of my absolute favorite extensions to ChromeOS, and I think that will be true for many as well.

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