Chrome extension lets users launch desktop apps from Google Drive

The product is an attempt to by Google to make its cloud services more interoperable with locally installed software

A new Chrome extension adds a desktop application launcher to Google Drive, as Google tries to bridge the interoperability gap between local software and its cloud services.

The browser plug in lets users right click on the icon of a file stored in Drive to trigger the appearance of a list of available applications installed on their computer, so they can pick one with which to open the file.

"When it comes to browsers and installed applications working well together, they aren't quite on the same page," Rachel Barton, a Google Drive Product Manager, wrote in a blog post.

Files created with Google Docs and with Microsoft Office applications can be opened and edited in the Google cloud without requiring locally installed software, so the feature will prove useful for files that require specific local programs, for things such as video editing, accounting and creating animations.

"So, no matter what you keep in Drive, using the web to access and manage files doesn't mean you're limited to using applications that only work in your browser," Barton wrote.

For the extension to work, users need to install the latest version of the Drive app for Mac OS or Windows -- version 1.18 -- and then sync their files.

If recent user reviews are any indication, the application launcher needs polishing. Seven out of 10 reviewers gave the product 1 star out of a possible 5, while another person gave it 2 stars. The most common complaint is that the plug-in doesn't display the application people need.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags applicationsGooglestoragesoftwarecollaborationSoftware as a servicecloud computinginternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?