The pre-requisite step in any guide to sideloading an OTA or flashing a factory image is installing the Android Device Bridge. Previously, the official way to get adb or fastboot was by downloading the entire set of Android Studio development tools. Google (spotted via Android Police) now conveniently provides a direct way to just download the platform-tools.
Thanks to the work of two Googlers, there are now direct links to the approximately 3.5MB platform-tools folder that includes adb, fastboot, and several other utilities.
Available for all major platforms, the links will always point to a ZIP file containing the latest version that ships and gets updated with Android Studio:
While the individual tools could already be located on third-party repositories, the files found there were not officially maintained and often out of date.
This official solution is a huge benefit to those who don’t want to download Android Studio to do a relatively simple task like sideloading.