Chromebook previously suffered from storage systems that were small and isolated from the cloud. But now the browser-based operating system is integrated with Google’s online file sync service. Google built Google Drive into the latest developer release of Chrome OS version 20.0.1116.0.
Google Drive synchronizes files across multiple devices and with Google’s own servers; a file copied or saved into the folder on a personal computer or uploaded to the Google Drive Web site is then accessible on other devices. It’s tightly integrated with Google Docs, Google’s online service for word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets.
On Chrome OS Google’s browser-based operating system is a big step up. With Drive files stored with this supposedly cloud-computing operating system are actually integrated directly with the cloud. You could already get your Google Docs, of course, but now you can see all the other files you’ve stored much more easily. That’s potentially important for another reason: unlike even low-end laptops, the Chrome OS laptops Google calls Chromebooks today have only 16GB.
Google recently added a new, more traditional interface to Chrome OS. Initially it was available only for the Acer- and Samsung-built Chromebooks, but now it’s available on Google’s Cr-48 Chromebook prototypes also.