2021-10-24 12:47 GMT:
J0kerling, a friend of ours, made us aware that the Files by Google app is also present on his Nord 2 running OxygenOS A.11 and that he does not recall it being present in past software releases.
2021-10-23 16:27 GMT:
Files by Google has been added in latest OnePlus 8T update (OOS 18.104.22.168/22.214.171.124 following regions) as we predicted. It has also been added in OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro build (OOS 126.96.36.199), as well as in latest Nord N10 5G (OOS 11.0.2) and Nord N100 builds (OOS 11.0.2/11.0.3 following regions), althought it hasn't been mentioned in official changelog for those last two devices.
Original article has been preserved below.
Files by Google is a file management application developed by Google. It has been firstly released on December 5th, 2017 and has received several updates since then.
Its main features are browse mode, share mode and clean mode. The browse mode allows you to see recently accessed files, and features a "Favorites" and a "Safe" folder as well. The share mode makes use of Nearby Share feature to send and receives files, at a speed rate up to 480 Mbps over an encrypted direct Wi-Fi network. The clean mode feature identifies unused apps, large, and duplicates files so that users can easily remove them when their device storage is nearly full. This is something OnePlus initially implemented in their own File Manager in May 2019 as part of Open Beta 17/9 for the OnePlus 6 and 6T, but it never made its way to stable channel following community backslash.
A few days ago, on September 22nd 2021, a new OnePlus Launcher APK (5.1.13) has been uploaded to APKMirror, having almost no changes compared to previous APK 5.1.12 but an XML configuration file.
More specifically, this XML configuration file removed the default Files app (com.google.android.documentsui) from the default apps present in launcher Google folder in favour of Files by Google (com.google.android.apps.nbu.files).
We thought this change would only be a thing on the Nord N200, since dre9 is its codename, however the Nord CE received the OxygenOS 188.8.131.52 update yesterday (for which announcement forum post has been posted today) claiming the Files by Google app has been added.
Upon decompilation of the build, we found that the Files by Google app has effectively been added in system\priv-app\FilesGoogle directory (OnePlus' own file manager is still present), and looking back at 5.1.13 launcher, we also found mention of Files by Google package name (com.google.android.apps.nbu.files) in XML files related to the OnePlus 8T and its T-Mobile variant (their respective codenames are kebab and kebabt).
We therefore consider likely Files by Google app will come at least to those two devices and to Nord N200 by the next OTA, and we would not be surprised should it come to additional devices, as OnePlus has a strong relationship with Google, and in fact bundles its communication apps instead of its own Dialer and Messages app since the OnePlus Nord.
We will update this article should more information become available.