Google announced today an expansion of its online storage efforts with the release of a “Save to Drive” button that can be added to any website, allowing visitors to click and save files hosted on the site to their personal Google Drive accounts. The button is already being used by Bigstock, Delta Dental, Fotolia, O’Reilly, Outbox and Zen Payroll, Google notes.
The button works in the context of the user’s browser, allowing visitors to save files that require some form of HTTP authentication. After clicking the button, the file is first downloaded to the user’s browser, then uploaded to Google Drive.
It’s a small utility, but it addresses a larger issue with using cloud storage: Often, to move files found on the web to your personal online storage site, you first have to save those items to the desktop in an intermediary step. But in Google’s vision, the desktop is fading away, and everything will be built on top of the web’s platform instead.
This is most apparent in Google’s efforts with its Chrome OS and Chromebook devices, including the newer, high-end Chromebook Pixel, a flagship device meant to demonstrate the potential in a web-only machine.
Google has already made it easier for users to forgo saving files to their computers in a number of products, including within Gmail, where optional links have long since allowed you to open standard file types without first downloading them. That feature today supports all the major attachments that people send (e.g. .pdf, .doc, .xls, .ppt, .rtf, .sxw, .sxc, .sxi, .sdw, .sdc, .sdd and .wml). Google Drive, however, supports an even wider range of file types, which will make the button useful for sharing the kinds of files that a website owner may want to share, such as videos, graphics, archives (.zip and .rar), markup and code and more.