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It’s Now Even Easier to Add Other Cloud Providers to Chrome OS

Chrome OS Add Services

A small but helpful new features arrived in this week’s Chrome OS Dev Channel update (v43.0.2357.3).

The sidebar of the Files.app (the Chrome OS File Manager) plays home to a new entry titled ‘Add new services’.  Clicking this button opens a modal window that lists File System Provider extensions that are currently available to install from the Chrome Web Store.

Among them are a few we’ve written about previously, like add-ons that integrate popular cloud storage services Dropbox, SFTP and Microsoft’s OneDrive directly into the Files.app.

But why is Google suddenly promoting these extensions/apps so prominently?

‘Increase Awareness’

Chromium developers themselves say they the feature is designed to help ‘significantly increase awareness of new providers’. 

Chrome OS’s lack of native integration with cloud services other than Google Drive had been a sticking point for many looking to switch. Business users, for example, may be heavily reliant on Dropbox or a custom in-house server.

With the File System Provider API now stable developers are free to help fill in those gaps and bridge the divide.

Google plans to make further improvements to the integration of cloud providers in future updates. These tweaks may include allowing users to ‘pin’ files offline; a more thoughtful way to unmount and remount cloud providers (i.e. no more ‘eject’ button) and improvements to the way files are displayed as loading.

  • Nelson Miller

    Site admin, the comment button text says “read more”… Might want to change that.

    • On Android? Here it says “Read Comments”.

      • Nelson Miller

        Yes, it is fixed now. I’ve actually seen it several times before here too.

        • Oh *that*. When there are no comments the link will say “read more” instead of “0 Comments”.

          I should change it back because when the link is clicked it takes you straight to the comment section underneath the article you want to ‘read more’ of!

  • William Kappel

    Speaking of the eject button, I would hope that they fix the functionality of this to *actually* eject an external drive. I have to physically close the lid of my C720 and wait 5-7 seconds for my drive to actually dismount. I basically wait til the light on the hard drive turns off and count a few seconds before I unplug it. I can still feel it spinning if I don’t wait. Anyone else notice this or is it just me?

    • powermatt

      You don’t have to wait for the drive to stop spinning. If it’s been ejected, it’s safe to unplug. All eject does is end any pending read/write processes, so you don’t lose any data when unplugging. We’re long, long beyond the days when a hard drive needed to be parked before losing power.

      • William Kappel

        I thought that too. Except I got an error message when I popped it in my PC following the first time I unplugged it from my Chromebook after having pressed eject. When I dismount this drive from my PC, it shuts the drive off completely. I’m just saying it would be nice for Chrome OS to do the same. That light on the drive is there for that very reason, so that you know when it’s active and when it’s safe to unplug.

        • powermatt

          And you’re sure it wasn’t just a coincidence? I think the last time I worried about a hard drive being parked was back in the late 80’s. It’s more likely a read/write processes hadn’t finished, more than anything else. I’ve got an Antec 2.5″ external case that uses the standard SATA to USB driver, and it’s never had an issue.

          • William Kappel

            It was a while back and I haven’t done it since, so who knows it might have been a fluke. And yes, like you it’s been a looong time since I worried about pulling out a hard drive. Which is why this surprised me when it happened. Anyway you might be right, all I’m saying is it would be nice if the OS could go the extra mile and confirm we’re not putting our data at risk ;)

  • powermatt

    I gave it a shot, but it’s pretty buggy right now. I was able to mount OneDrive, but I couldn’t open any files. It’s dev channel, so nothing shocking there.

  • Mi Pen

    Sounds good , but as the comments seem to indicate its still got teething issues. Will be great when bug fixed i’m sure.

    • JUDGE

      The issues I have on my HP11 G1 are: the annoying notification which appears when any file transfer is taking a certain time and the still not resolved wifi drop-outs… outside these issues, these add-ons are very useful.

  • disqus_QQmo5i3vVTT

    Need to add a file system from work/home server computer.

    • powermatt

      WebDAV and SCP are options. Most NAS devices support at least one of those.

  • gdawilson

    How did you get the colour of the Files (manager) box blue?

    • powermatt

      That’s the new material design file manager, which is on the dev channel now.

  • Yossihn Hayoun

    Would be great if we could access our private/work NAS servers through FILES.
    Like WD My Cloud or others.

    • JUDGE

      Agree. I am waiting for an app for My WD Cloud too. As it is available, I purchase it and I will no more use a local HDD on my Chromebook.

      • powermatt

        The API is open for developers to use, so it’s possible.

    • Maarten

      You can now using WebDAV…

  • Yossihn Hayoun

    Or Windows smb protocols.

  • disqus_QQmo5i3vVTT

    I wonder if the other file systems add to your allocated storage?

    • powermatt

      Why would they? This is strictly for remote storage options.

  • Deckard_Cain

    It’s good that Google is opening up ChromeOS a bit more with this and the ability to run Android apps.
    Now if they would allow the instalation of alternative file managers or contribute with open-source devs to package GIMP and Libre Office to an .apk so that it could be run directly on ChromeOS…

  • Vin

    Just wondering…. Do you folks know what the typical turnaround time is between when something appears in the Development Channel and when it appears in the Stable Channel? I’m not exactly a Power User – yet! – so I currently just stay in Stable Channel but this looks like a very nice feature to have, so I am hoping it ports to Stable Channel soon…

    • powermatt

      It depends on how big the feature is, but it my experience it’s around 3-6 months to filter down to stable.

    • Man, just switch to beta channel! :P
      It’s awesome!

      I’m actually on Canary already! XD

    • You can already use (most of) these extensions in the file manager on the stable channel. The File System Provider API is ready and present. You`ll need to grab them from the Web Store though by searching for them by name.

  • Guest

    Jolicloud Drive…

  • BC

    Well, I like that Google is going to give us options for connecting to other Cloud Storage providers like Dropbox or OneDrive. However, I will still continue to use Google’s own Drive for my cloud storage as I have no reason to switch.

    • niagr

      good to know

      • Adrian

        It’s BC’s world, we’re simply wallpaper.

  • disqus_QQmo5i3vVTT

    It needs to be in my google drive on any OS.

    • Johan Thiborg-Ericson

      I would say that this is a feature of the file manager rather than of the plug in for drive.

  • Eric Sterling

    While I love ChromeOS, and admit these a big steps in the right direction, the FSP in ChromeOS has way way way too much overhead. When doing any sort of real development, I still have to load my files in crouton. If your available bandwidth is under 100kbps (as the majority of the planet’s internet is) these remote file systems are unusable, and the extension crashes.

    Not to diminish Yoichiro Tanaka’s work. His projects are A+ given what he is working with. Google just needs to pick up the ball and fix Files.app.

  • Jered Schmidt

    If you buy otixo for a one time fee you can use the webdav plugin which gives you access to 20 different cloud drives”and you can have as many different accounts for each provider”. I have around 2TB of free cloud storage via webdav.

  • Guest

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  • Richard Bucker

    this is a great new feature… but it peels one more layer of security away from the system? Or does it?

  • Louisa

    Chromebook Gmail – I’ve mounted dropbox but when I try to download files from gmail to dropbox they fail with “download error”. Am I doing something wrong?
    Also when I move files from googledrive to dropbox they appear to have 0 bytes in dropbox and can’t be selected to send with gmail