Easy-Access Downloads, Screenshots, Files Coming To Your Chromebook

Chromebook Logo AH 2020

Google is going to make it easy for users to quickly access their important files on a Chromebook, reports indicate. Highlighted in a video shared by Chrome Story, the change effectively moves where important recent files are in the UI. But it goes quite a bit deeper to make it easier for users to choose which are important too.

That's because Google isn't just moving where the notifications — and access — for those files appear. Users will also be allowed to pin their own files to the new UI, similar to how that works on Windows.

The biggest difference with this feature, dubbed Holding Space, is that the pinned files won't appear in the app launcher. And they won't occupy the main shelf either. Instead, they'll appear tucked behind a new icon next to the clock, battery, and connectivity icon on the shelf. Namely, the system tray. And the UI will look similar to the Quick Settings card.


Easy file access isn't the only change in the UI here

Now, the files users pin for easy access on their Chromebook won't be the only files that appear in the designated Holding Space. In fact, that's where all other recent file activity is going, based on reports.

As Chrome OS currently stands, those files — including downloads and screenshots — currently appear above the Quick Tiles UI. They occupy their own cards complete with UI for interacting or closing the card. Those function similarly to notifications in the shade on Android phones.

With this change in place, those would appear on a separate card that, at least in feel, mimics the Quick Settings tile space. And they'd be organized into sections based on type. So screenshots would have their own category, as would recent downloads and pinned files.


So, in effect, the feature would appear similar to the way files have, at times, been saved on a Windows machine. With the key difference being that those are typically stored in the Start Menu UI. While Chromebooks will showcase the UI  in the system tray. That way, users can access their files from any page, app, or other feature — as long as the system tray is still accessible.

There's always a catch, and here it is

For the time being, there's no guarantee this feature will ever make it to the user-facing side of Chrome OS. As is often the case with these features, it's currently hidden behind an experimental flag at the "chrome://flags" URL. Specifically, behind an "#enable-holding-space" flag.

That flag can be enabled right now but that's where the catch is. The flag is presently only available in the Canary Channel and, as the most buggy channel by far, that's a variant of Chrome OS that should be avoided by just about everybody.