A few months ago, we noticed that our custom wallpapers were syncing across devices – wallpapers that were not a part of the Chrome OS wallpaper app by default were applied automagically from one Chromebook to another without our intervention. Now, a new commit on the Chromium Repositories now sheds new light on that experience. It looks like Google has, in fact, been working on custom wallpaper syncing, but they’re approaching it in a unique way.
wallpaper: Custom Wallpaper Sync Up
To sync images selected by the user from disk or another custom source, we need to upload those images to a place where the user’s other devices can reach them. We decided that place is Google Drive. The only caveat is that this is visible, and uses quota. Mitigate that with a descriptive directory and file name.
Handling Drive unavailable and sync down situations in follow up cls.
Test: WallpaperController* tests.Bug: b/184783318
Test: By hand, no directory, directory exists, and image exists.
As you can see from the above commit, instead of giving users unlimited ‘Chromebook syncing’ or something like that, the development team is opting for a much simpler approach to helping you manage your wallpapers across devices – Google Drive storage. That’s right, when and if this launches, your images will be synced using your cloud storage and count against your storage quota – the storage that is no longer free and unlimited.
It’s not all bad news though, as the folder they’re choosing to sync will be ‘selected by the user from disk or another custom source’. Basically, that ‘Wallapers’ folder many of us have created in Drive or on an external storage device over the years to quickly grab a new background picture from using the Chromebook Files app (and maybe even pinning it to the left sidebar of the app itself) instead of freshly downloading new images all the time is likely to be officially recognized by Google going forward.
What we gather is that the company will locate a folder by name – ‘Wallpapers’ – and apply a custom tag to it or an identifier so that each time you log into Chrome OS it will intelligently check that location for image file types (jpg or png, for example) and show them under the ‘My images’ section of the wallpaper app so you can swap them out with ease.
This is early in development for now though, and future commits will handle how this feature should act in situations where Google Drive is unavailable or where the proper folder can’t be ‘synced down’ to the local machine. It’s awesome to see Google working within the confines of a user-created system to produce an official solution to meet our needs. I know many, many people who keep their own wallpapers folder, so Google must have seen this and decided it was the best way forward.