When Google first rolled out Chromebooks, managing local storage was not a top priority. Even though early Chromebooks typically came with 16GB of onboard storage the whole point of Google’s laptops was that everything existed online. But Chromebooks today have all sorts of offline functionality, and soon newer Chromebooks will be running Android apps from Google Play.
To make it easier to see what’s going on with your local storage, Google is working on a new storage manager for Chromebooks, as Chrome Evangelist François Beaufort recently announced on Google+.
The storage manager is in early development and only available in the latest developer version of Chrome OS. If that’s the build of the browser-based operating system you’re running, you can enable the storage manager flag using chrome://flags/#enable-storage-manager.
Now restart Chrome and go to chrome://settings. You should see a Storage button. Click that and a window pops up with more detailed information about your local storage.
Storage information includes overall device capacity, how much storage is in use, how much space previous downloads are taking up, storage space occupied by offline files, and available space.
Once the Play Store rolls out to all users it’s not clear if the storage space taken up by Android apps and their content will be included in these categories or if they’ll be called out on their own.
The impact on you: Whether you’ve got a Play Store-compatible Chromebook or not, the new storage manager should still be heading your way in the coming weeks. Once it lands as an official feature, the storage manager will be a far better option for getting a picture of your storage situation compared to what Chromebooks offer now. Currently, you can check basic storage space information via the Files app’s menu or typing chrome://quota-internals into Chrome’s address bar. Neither method is particularly helpful in getting a high-level view of your storage situation like the new storage manager will offer.
Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn't like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he's not covering the news he's working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.