In a marriage of the ultimate convenience, Google Drive and Google Chrome are to work together in the most crazily productive way ever. And it’s going to blow your socks off.
We’ve already seen how the search giant plans to blur the lines between local and web on Windows and OS X by letting local files ‘associate’ with compatible Chrome Apps.
This hand-off is about to become a two way street. With the rollout of a new extension, you’ll able to do the opposite: open files from Google Drive on the web in a local, native app using Chrome.
The feature works using a new Chrome extension called Application Launcher for Drive (by Google) and an updated version of the Drive desktop syncing client.
Working together, the feature allows you to open files from Google Drive in a compatible app installed on your Windows or Mac PC. You don’t need to download the file, sync it to your desktop or anything else.
This would allow you to, for example, open a .psd file in Photoshop, a .png in Microsoft Paint or a .pdf file in Adobe Reader.
Google say all changes you make to the document while open in a native app are saved and synced back to Google Drive.
Rachel Barton, Product Manager of Google Drive, sums up the benefits in a blog post announcing the feature:
“So, no matter what you keep in Drive, using the web to access and manage files doesn’t mean you’re limited to using applications that only work in your browser.”
Trying it Out
If you’re excited to try it out you can…sort of.
First off, you need to be running Windows or OS X and have the latest version of the native Google Drive sync client installed. This is a requirement; without Google Drive client installed the web service has no idea what compatible apps you have installed on your computer.
Secondly, the feature currently only works in Google Chrome on Windows and Mac OS X with the ‘Application Launcher for Drive’ extension installed (which you may already have, as Google seems to have added it in the background). You also need to be using the ‘new’ Drive interface.
If you check off all the requirements above but still don’t see local apps listed in Drive’s right-click menu try rebooting — this seems to kick the feature into gear.
If the web and the desktop continue to blur at this pace, we’ll be needing some pretty strong glasses to separate them in the future!