As we push towards making the CloudReady and Chrome OS user experience more seamless when using published applications, one of the areas I’ve been spending some time to optimize user experience, is the Google Drive plugin for Microsoft Office. When using a CloudReady/Chrome OS driven device, seamless integration of your Google Drive into Microsoft Office applications can be a great way to unify the experience of working in published applications while still using the chromium desktop to do all your other main computing. While there are other ways to accomplish this, depending on the virtualization technology in place, this is just some helpful insight if you are depending on the Drive plugin for this functionality.
Why would you want to do this?
While there are very few settings to configure inside the plugin, one of them may be important for your users; When opening display: _____. This setting is responsible for showing only Microsoft Office file extensions (not Microsoft Office + Google Docs files) in the open/browse dialog boxes. Configuring this setting correctly avoids user confusion and helps keep the proper separation between accessing files created by different software. Google Docs files get opened on the local CloudReady/Chrome OS interface and Microsoft Office files get opened by your virtual application.
How do you configure this?
The registry keys to control the plugin are located in the registry hive: “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Google\Drive plugin for Office”, under here there is a REG_DWORD for ‘PickerFilter’ which is what controls the drop down items for this filter. The values are numerical, available with a setting of 1, 2 & 3; and correlate with the following settings:
- Setting PickerFilter to a value of 1 changes the value to ‘Microsoft Office and Google Docs files’
- Setting PickerFilter to a value of 2 changes the value to ‘Microsoft Office files only’ (my suggested setting for running Office on top of CloudReady)
- Setting PickerFilter to a value of 3 changes the value to ‘All Files’
Controlling via Group Policy:
The last step would be to setup a registry key item using Group Policy Preferences (Server 2008+) to push this key out to your targeted users.
Some more information:
This article was written because there is no other information on the internet out there talking about controlling the Google Drive Plugin behavior centrally, either via group policy or other user environment manager tool. I also want to bring exposure to the future of using CloudReady/Chrome OS as your secure, easily managed computing platform, supplemented with Windows-based applications; to deliver the ultimate end user computing experience.
A couple other notes:
We used procmon to capture the registry key interaction between Google Drive Plugin and the machines’ registry. RegfromApp by Nirsoft could have probably been more efficiently used.