Chromebook users may soon be able to zip folders without having to move the desired files to the Chromebook itself, according to some code that was recently pushed out through the Chrome OS beta channel. Unsurprisingly, the discovery actually involves Google's cloud storage solution; Google Drive is an integral part of Chrome OS since the devices running it are generally rather limited in terms of storage capacity and were designed with a focus on the company's Cloud and Chrome Web Browser. The new feature is accessible via an advanced setting toggle, which can be activated at "chrome://flags." Once activated, files can be archived, or zipped, directly from the Chromebook's file explorer system in the Google Drive Folder with a simple right click on the file itself. Unfortunately, the setting only works, for the moment, in the latest beta channel for the system. However, a full-fledged, consumer-ready version could also be just around the corner since the setting is also available on the stable channel, although it doesn't seem to be completely functional as of this writing.
At first glance, this new feature may seem unimportant to most people. After all, users can already archive files in the current iteration of Chrome OS. That being said, the current process for zipping a file for archiving is actually a bit counterproductive as a result of the devices' typically diminutive space. Files must be moved from Google Drive to a Chromebook's built-in storage, and then be zipped for archiving. What that means is that larger files used by professionals and power users can't be zipped on a Chromebook – forcing users to work from a different computer with a larger hard drive. That can serve as a deterrent for professionals and others who may otherwise choose one of Google's increasingly popular laptop-like devices. With the update, Chromebooks might become more appealing to that particular demographic. Moreover, Chrome OS's native .zip archive tool isn't the only archiving app that becomes available once the setting is enabled since users can choose from any apps they have installed for archiving – as shown in the image beneath this writing.
Chrome OS tends to be updated at an extremely high rate as compared to the operating systems it is intended to compete with. What this latest discovery really shows is Google's continued commitment to getting features in place that make it a viable, affordable alternative to more expensive traditional computers. Furthermore, it opens up a new avenue of the computing market since the new functionality will likely have a significant impact on the limitations caused by Chromebooks' propensity to have very little storage space available.