When we talk about operating systems and the things that they do well and do poorly, things like the UI, settings, notifications, and files come to mind. Outside of those things, the OS is really just a launchpad for applications and the open web if you think about it. I’ve made this argument before, but if an OS is good at delivering the content you need when you ask for it, you don’t give a whole lot of thought about it outside of that. The only time you spend truly interacting with it is in those very utilitarian times of getting a file, changing a setting, or seeing missed notifications.
For Chrome OS, the Files app has always been a bit hit or miss. It has never been fully up to the level of the apps you get on Windows or MacOS, but I’ve also rarely ran into issue with it. There are many users who wish for more from the app, however, and this little addition we’re seeing in the Chromium Repositories today is a small step in a more-functional direction.
According to this commit, the Recents, Audio, Images, and Videos section of the Chrome OS Files app is about to get a lot more useful. If you aren’t familiar, in the Files app, you can look in this section to see a collection of folders/files that are auto-populated according to their types. Any audio on your local drive, for instance, will show up under the Audio folder. This can help users get to things a bit quicker between tasks and can add a bit of order to you unordered files, but these sections are read-only, so no real file management can happen here.
This can be very helpful for moving fast, but there are many times where this self-organized collection of files can get a bit confusing and you really need to know where you put something in order to open it elsewhere or share it in a different way. Those cases can be varied, but we all know there come times where we may not need to open a file, but it would be super-helpful to know exactly where it lives on your device.
Since Chromebooks can now leverage full file systems on the local drive (I still just drop temporary stuff in the Downloads folder) and we’re consistently seeing larger local storage options, this new ability for locating files and folders will be very handy for a ton of users. You can see in the commit language exactly what we expect to see soon:
dd “Go to file location” context menu item.
This CL adds “Go to file location” context menu item when a single file is selected in Recents, Audio, Images, or Videos. When the command is fired, selected files’ containing folder will be opened.
This is a pretty straightforward change that could help a ton of users keep track of files in a much more consistent way. Don’t get me wrong, I love auto-filed, auto-organized folders just like the next person, but there are just times where you need to manually get to a file and/or just do some house cleaning with your digital collections. Being able to right click on a file in one of these curated collections and quickly be taken to that file’s actual destination will be a handy tool that just continues to make the Files app on Chrome OS just a little bit better.