Note from editor: The syntax for this feature has changed since this was first posted. The posted has been edited to reflect the change.
Try to think back to when the word “viral” had only negative connotations . . . if you are a web developer trying to market your app on a minimal budget, you may not remember those dark days at all! Viral marketing is currently not just the cheapest but arguably the most effective way to spread the word about your app and to drive user adoption. Through file sharing and MIME type-filtered upsells, Google Drive integration gives apps some powerful “viral” marketing capabilities.
Users love to share files. Google Drive makes this easy for them to do, and we know from experience that they do it often. When users share or sync files that they can’t open using an installed viewer, Drive displays a link to a Chrome Web Store list of apps that can open that file type -- potentially, your app. This can be a powerful mechanism for distributing your app to the users that actually need it.
For example, let’s say someone asks me to review a project plan saved in an .mpp file. I currently don’t have a viewer to open such a file. Am I out of luck? No — help is right there for me at the bottom left of the screen:
If I click on this link, I’m redirected to a Chrome Web Store list of installable apps that have registered themselves to open .mpp files. Currently, this includes some excellent options for Drive-integrated project management web apps:
Interested in getting your app in a list like this? It’s not difficult. First, add a special web intent to your Chrome Web Store manifest. This intent should include the MIME types and extensions you'd like your app to be searchable by. Though the type field accepts only MIME types, it allows you to model file extensions as the special type application/vnd.google.drive.ext-type.<EXTENSION>.
"name" : "ProjectManagmentApp",
"version" : "1",
"description" : "A web app to manage projects",
"container" : "GOOGLE_DRIVE",
"api_console_project_id" : "1234567891011",
"title" : "Open",
"disposition" : "window"
Once an intent like this is published in your app listing, you’ll be featured in Chrome Web Store “upsell” lists like the one depicted above, and users viewing the list will be a click away from installing your app. For full detail on adding this web intent to your manifest and testing it for your Chrome Web Store listing, see Help Users Find your App in the Drive SDK documentation.
We recommend that any and all listed apps should list their MIME types for filtering in this way. However, doing so is especially beneficial for apps that can open any of these following types, for which there is currently no registered viewer at all:
Inevitably, users who lack valid viewers will end up with shared files of these MIME types. And just when they are about to throw up their hands, they’ll find your app at the top of the list of apps that can help them open the file. This creates the conditions for a very positive first user experience for your app.
If you have questions or comments about how to add this feature to your app, don’t hesitate to let us know on our Stack Overflow tag, google-drive-sdk.