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With RAW Support, Chromebooks Could Become Ultimate Photography Companion

mosaic view in chrome os

The Chrome OS File Manager (Files.App) is finally able to display and edit RAW files as of the latest Chrome OS Dev Update.

It might sound like a minor feature but it will allow photography enthusiasts who use their Chromebook ‘in the field’ to quickly view RAW images saved to their camera’s SD card on their device without needing to install additional applications.

Better still, supported RAW files can also be edited in in the Gallery app. This won’t be of much use to purists as editing will saves edited RAW files as a compressed JPEG when done, but for simple exports for social media, which compress anyway, it should be ideal.

The supported RAW file formats are as follows:

  • ARW
  • CR2
  • DNG
  • NEF
  • NRW
  • ORF
  • RAF
  • RW2

With offline-enabled professional photo editing apps like Polarr growing more and more powerful, and Chromebook batteries lives and screens getting better, might we see the humble Chromebook become the ultimate field companion?

Expect the feature to filter down to the Beta Channel in the coming month or so, and the Stable Channel after that.

  • Bill Anderson

    Now this working with a Chrome-ified version of the new Snapseed app on a touchscreen IPS display Chromebook? Drool…

    • Corey Munns

      Yes please! But they need to also added RAW support to Snapseed.

      • ChromeDude

        It’s foreseeable if it’s being added here

        • Corey Munns

          And with ARC being a thing it is likely possible to have Snapseed on ChromeOS right now.

          • Somebody already tried it with ARC Welder over in the comments at Android Police and they said it works :)

          • I think (and would prefer) a native solution. Polarr/Polaar shows what can be done using nothing but web technologies, and Google+’s built-in “Customize” editor* already has some better tools.

            (* It seems to only show up for editing photos that are a) posted in your stream and b) with auto-enhance turned on, though. I’d like to see it standalone or integrated into the Google+ Photos Chrome App).

  • ChromeDude

    RAW support? Wow. On my home Windows desktop we had to install numerous costly programs for reading, editing, etc. Never again, it seems.

    • gggplaya

      Microsoft provides a free camera codec pack which takes 2 minutes to download and install.

  • deanduck2

    Bit of a joke to call a Chrome Book a photography companion though! With no simple way to view decent size thumbnails of photos on local storage they are still crippled when it comes to managing image files. We need Picasa for ChromeOS.

    • I’m not sure I’d call local storage crippled. It’s limited by design, and in the situations I was picturing when calling it a ‘companion’ (i.e. to be used alongside other things) I was assuming the photographer would merely want to preview photos to, for example, delete images rather than drag them all off an SD card.

      I usually have several high capacity SD cards in my DSLR bag. Space isn’t usually the issue I have, it’s being able to preview them properly on a decent screen (which, admittedly, a lot of Chromebooks don’t have!)

      • deanduck2

        I agree, I wasn’t saying the local storage is what cripples the Chrome Book. I’m saying the lack of any decent ‘photo browsing’ software (eg Picasa) cripples the experience of working with images. Mosaic view in the ‘Gallery’ app is perfectly nice, but the only way to open Gallery is via opening a photo in file browser then selecting Mosaic. Mosaic view only displays that individual folder, if you want to view another folder of photos – close Gallery, use the file browser to find that folder, open an image, then turn on Mosaic view again. The experience of navigating/viewing images (imho) needs a huge improvement before a Chrome Book could be considered a photography companion.

        • Oops, my bad there. I misunderstood. So yes, I agree: it’s less than ideal.

          The Gallery app is getting a redesign though. It’s targeted for M44 but will probably slip. Hopefully it’ll improve things a bit, as might an improved Google+ Photos (or whatever it ends up being renamed) app.

        • calden74

          It’s designed this way to put more focus on web apps. I personally use OneDrive for my photo collection as it’s the best I’ve seen so far. I also use the Android app QuickPic, one of many Android gallery apps available and easily installed in Chrome OS. I think people keep forgetting that we can now install Android apps, in which you can now use things like PhotoShop Touch, PicsArt, Fotor, PhotoSuite 4, Picasso, etc. Chrome OS is starting to take photos seriously with their new gallery app being separated from the file manager, have you used it yet. There is also Linux, which is easily installed in a Chroot for those who need a little extra but I haven’t found the need to Linux for anything but web developmemt.

  • Cirrell Battle

    Now if only we could get some gif animation support in the file browser.

  • Jaohan

    Google will soon making the Google Chromebook Pixel as their default Android development platform.

    I try to post the link here, but it seems to me that OMGchrome doesn’t allow posting a link anymore. Here is where… use google, and search download Android studio. It will be the first link…

    • I followed that link but while it shows a Google Pixel running the Android SDK, it appears to be Linux version photoshopped in. There doesn’t seem to be a link to a version that runs natively in Chrome, just Windows, Mac and Linux builds.

      (And no, sadly we had to turn comments with links off owing to recent influx of spammy scam comments)

      • Jaohan

        Google just posting a teaser of Pixel & android SDK.

        There’s a BUG REPORT on chromebook pixel about Android adb. Which is use to debug the android development. Search google for that…

        I respect your decision to turn of links. but I think you should let the one that doesn’t OT.

        • Wrt to links we have no control: they either are on, or aren’t. And if they are we’ll be back to all the spam scam comments that we showing up everywhere a few weeks back. =

          • Jaohan

            I take this as a good news that Chromebook is gaining popularity

  • Joseph Dickson

    Chrome OS is already my ultimate WordPress development platform :)

  • disqus_QQmo5i3vVTT

    As soon as google converts all android apps and minecraft to work with chromeOS Google will wipe out windows and macs.

    • Keith Reeder

      Oh, sure – because Adobe is killing itself in the rush to port Lightroom and PhotoShop to ChromeOS, isn’t it?

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  • Melissa Schmidt

    Chrome OS is the only way to go! No hassles with upgrades and downloads cause Google OS does it for ya!

  • I’m interested in a Chromebook – better battery, faster start up, lightweight, low cost… it’s a win.

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  • jessnewcomb

    Woo Hoo finally, I didn’t even realize they had done it so I just tried it and pow. Fantastic it will now be my travel notebook so I can view and transfer my photos from card to external drives.