Google will use Google Drive integration to attempt to reinvigorate adoption of Chromebooks, closely tying the cloud storage service into the Chrome OS-based ultraportables. The new online drive will in effect be used as the default local drive on Chromebooks, Chrome chief Sundar Pichai told Wired, with seamless blending of the local system with internet-based storage space.
“With Chromebooks, [Google Drive] is even more powerful,” Pichai said of the upcoming integration, “because it just starts working naturally. Your local drive is also Google Drive. This makes it really powerful because you just don’t think about it.”
Google’s focus with Chrome OS has been on ease of use, targeting students and PC-shy owners who don’t want the hassle of maintaining a Windows computer or the expense of a Mac. “We’ll … effectively integrate Drive into the native file system of Chrome OS,” Google Drive project manager Scott Johnson confirmed. “All the core OS functionality will use Drive as a place to store data — if that’s what you opt in to.”
Chromebooks have yet to reach a tipping point in the mass market, not helped by their heavy reliance on web-based services. The notebooks in effect boot into the browser, using web-apps and cloud storage for all functionality.
Google Drive baked into Chrome OS won’t be ready in time for v19 of the platform, which is currently in testing; however, Pichai says, it should be included in Chrome OS v20. A timescale for that OS’ release is yet to be confirmed.