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Google Drive now lets you open files directly from the web viewer

Google Drive now lets you open files directly from the web viewer

by AshwinAugust 13, 2015

Google has added a much needed, yet very basic feature to its cloud storage service, Google Drive.


Last year, the Mountain View company rolled out an upgrade for its application, which allows the user to open any file stored in their Drive Folder, as long as a compatible application was installed on the computer.

For e.g.: If you had a RAR archive file in your Drive folder, and you also had WinRAR or any such app which can open the file, and click on the file in your Drive, the file would be opened directly without the need for you to navigate to the local folder (where Google Drive saved the archive) on your computer to manually launch the app.

Now that is an incredibly useful feature, isn’t it. But of course there is a huge drawback, in that you had to manually open the Google Drive app on your computer to launch the files. This changes today, as Google has now enabled this feature in it’s web viewer, i.e., the Drive website which you open on your desktop browser. But there is a huge catch, and I think you can easily guess what it is, yes the feature only works in Google Chrome.

This works not only on PCs, but also on Mac machines as well.

But there are a few things you should do to use this feature:

How to open files in Google Drive from the web browser:

1. First download the Google Drive app for your system. You need version 1.23 or above for this feature to work. The latest version is 1.24, so just download and install it.

2. Sync the folder, which has the files you want to open on your computer.

3. Now, open Google Chrome and login to your Drive account, and then navigate to the Drive folder, which contains the files you need. (Make sure the Drive extension is enabled in Chrome)

4. Double-click on any file, and it should automatically be opened in the default application (which handles the file type) on your PC. Alternatively you can right-click on a file in Drive, and select “Open With” and choose the app with which you wish to open the file.

I couldn’t get this to work in the 64-but version of Google Chrome, since it is a beta version. However, I can confirm that it does work in the 32-but browser. Google should have eliminated the need for the Drive app, to make this a more useful feature, since users will find “syncing a file” before being to open it, as the same as downloading a file and opening it manually.