When I came upon this commit last night, it took me a second to get my head around the fact that a proper trash feature has never existed for the Chrome OS files app. Sure, Google Drive has a trash bin and it works just like any other trash collector has worked on any other system since Windows 95 introduced the idea to many of us with the Recycle Bin all the way back in, well, 1995. I remember the whole idea of deleted files not really being deleted feeling a bit foreign and strange at first, but as we all got used to it over time, having that trash receptacle there to save us all from accidental deletes has been a life saver more times than not.
So, as you can imagine, I was shocked at my lack of awareness that the Chrome OS Files app didn’t have this somewhat-standard feature. After all, Google Drive has it and for the most part, files on Chromebooks tend to follow the trends of Google Drive for better or worse. I’m not sure how I never noticed that this wasn’t present for Chromebooks until now, but I am sure glad it is being rectified. According to this latest commit, a proper trash file in the Files app is now being added:
Add FilesTrash flag
Add feature flag for adding Trash support in My files volume of FilesApp.via the Chromium Gerrit
Apart from the feature flag description – ‘Enable trash for My files volume in Files App’ – there’s not a whole lot to go by and not a whole lot needed in terms of explanation. Once this feature makes its way into Chrome OS, the built-in Files app will have a new volume (those are things like Google Drive, Downloads, Play Files, etc. on the left-hand side of the Files app) called Trash and will likely behave as expected, keeping deleted files in a space that can save users from deleting something they shouldn’t have.
With Google Drive already having this feature, our guess is this will be a local-only trash scenario. To involve your Google Drive trash with your local Chromebook trash would be an odd move and require a lot more resources to pull off. Additionally, tying only the trash to a user’s Google Drive and not their other local files would likely be a tad bit confusing as well.
As a feature that has become a fairly-standard operating procedure for most, I’m very glad to see Chrome OS adopting the last-chance ability of a trash can and we’ll be keeping an eye on this feature as it should show up in the Canary channel fairly soon. Stay tuned.