Selecting Upload Destinations with the Picker API

Drive is a great drop zone for incoming files -- no matter if they’re coming from cameras, scanners, faxes, or countless other devices or apps. But throwing files into the root folder makes it difficult for users to find and organize their content.

I’ve seen developers create a folder when the user first connects the app with Drive to keep files organized by the app that created it. It’s a simple technique that is easy to implement and good default behavior for most applications.

With the Picker API, we can go a step further and offer users the choice of destinations too. For example, I’d like my scanner to put work files in one folder and personal files in another, or even configure multiple destinations depending on the type of document I’m scanning.

For this particular use case, the picker needs to be configured to show folders and only show folders. That requires customizing the DocsView just a little.

var docsView = new google.picker.DocsView()

By enabling folders & the ability to select them while simultaneously filtering out everything else, users can quickly and easily select one of their existing folders as a destination. The rest of the code to show the picker is par for the course.

// Handle user actions with the picker.
var callback = function(data) {
if (data.action == google.picker.Action.PICKED) {
var doc =[0];
alert("You picked " +;

var picker = new google.picker.PickerBuilder()


Not only is this easy to implement, it’s safer for users. By offloading this functionality to the Picker API, an app only needs the drive.file scope to write files into the user’s preferred location.

You can learn more about the Picker API at or ask questions at StackOverflow with the google-drive-sdk tag.

Steven Bazyl   profile | twitter

Steve is a Developer Advocate for Google Drive and enjoys helping developers build better apps.