If you have an Android phone, you are used to being able to look in your settings and get a decent overview of what is taking up local storage space on your device. As you can see in the included image below, Android does quite a good job of parsing out all the ways your phone is activly gobbling up your memory. A quick glance at this menu can help users quickly identify what is to blame when the reserves run low, and that is a priceless feature to have.
For Chromebooks, the storage management page is there, but nowhere near as clear as it needs to be. In its current version, you get a quick summary of what it is your downloaded folders, what is stored in your browsing data, Android storage (that can be opened up and parsed through more meticulously), Linux storage, and storage from other users. Not included are the web apps and extensions users have installed from the Chrome Web Store, and that can be a tad bit misleading.
Though web apps and extensions are mostly smaller files, they do add up and take up space on your machine. If you had quite a few of these installed over time, they could be robbing your likely-small storage of precious space without you really being able to see it. As a matter of fact, I can’t even tell you how much storage I have being taken up by web apps and/or extensions at this point. It hasn’t been a problem for me up to this point, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an issue for others.
Thanks to a pretty clearly-worded commit in the Chromium Repositories, we can see that Google is looking to add a bit more transparency to the storage management screen for Chrome OS. Here’s what looks to be changing:
Update Android storage to Apps and extensions
Before the change, on the storage page, the row “Android storage” displayed the size of the android apps. The size of the apps and extensions installed from the chrome web store were not reflected anywhere on this page.
This row is renamed “Apps and extensions”, and displays the size of – android apps (including the default ones, which can be deleted if the user disables the Play store) – apps and extensions installed from the web store, which data is located in the Extensions folder of the user’s cryptohome, as opposed to the system apps/extensions.
The size of web store apps/extensions and android apps are calculated separately. The UI is always updated with the sum of both.
Once this change is in place, users will be able to navigate to the settings app and head to the storage page and see a new row in play labeled “Apps and extensions.” Just like we can now see the amount of space being taken by our Android apps or downloads folder, this will give us all a quick-glance way to see how space hungry our web apps and extensions are becoming. I’m curious to know and I think this new feature will be important moving forward. As more users migrate over from Windows or MacOS, being able to see their storage listed in a more granular fashion as they are already accustomed to will only make the transition that much better.