Google Files has something ‘important’ in the pipeline

A new addition to the bottom bar could be coming soon

Google has an entire suite of first-party apps that form a complete starter kit of sorts for any new Android phone going on sale. Despite the popularity of third-party alternatives to these Google apps, a few of them continue to be Android enthusiast favorites. We still count Files by Google as one of the best file management apps on Android, and it is only going to get better. Word is Google is rethinking its approach to secure file storage in the app, opting to develop a new option nestled in the bottom bar now.

Longtime Files users should be familiar with an option called Safe Folder that's been around since 2020. It requires a PIN or pattern to unlock, and any files stored in this locked folder are rendered inaccessible to third-party apps. You can't even share or screenshot them. Nail Sadykov of the Google News Telegram channel has spotted a new feature in development called the Important tab with a remarkably similar function.

Squeezed as the second option between Clean and Browse in the bottom bar, the new Important tab opens a blank screen where you can add files using the right-aligned floating action button (FAB). Tapping the button reveals options to scan using the camera, choose an existing file, or pick an existing photo. Sadykov reports tapping the first option opens Goggle Camera, but the app states it doesn't have the permissions to write to that secure folder. Since you could theoretically add any type of files here, an option to group them by file type would be handy, and could be in the cards.

There are a couple of notable differences which set the existing Safe Folder option apart from the Important tab's capabilities. For one, you should be able to share files from the latter without moving them out first. Next, the upcoming storage location could be more secure because it uses the Android Biometric Prompt instead of a PIN or pattern. As a result, files stored in the Important tab could be convenient to access, and more securely hidden away from prying eyes — a win-win situation.

The Nearby Share tab in this upcoming version of the Files app will also be tweaked slightly to feature a detailed feature description. The Send and Receive buttons will also be the same size instead of the option name text defining the button width.

That said, the bottom bar on many Google apps, like Gmail, has seen a lot of new changes in recent months, so it isn't surprising Google is going this route, planning to add the Important option in the Files app, too. However, there's no telling what's in store for the Safe Folder option we use today.

Thanks: Mishaal

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