News / Software

Backup and Sync Changes to Google Drive for Desktop

  • Google is replacing the app with Drive for Desktop.
  • The new app is meant to unify Backup and Sync with Drive File Stream, the version for business users.
  • The old Backup and Sync app for syncing with Google Drive will become obsolete.
google drive for desktop sync app

I’ve currently a Google Drive user, but not necessarily because I like it. I’m more in the “my friends use it” type of scenario, just like those who use Apple’s Facetime.

I wasn’t aware there was a different app for Google Drive business users, but there is and it’s called Drive File Stream.

Google just announced it will be merged with the now old Backup and Sync app for both Windows and macOS later this year. Linux is not supported because there still isn’t an official Google Drive app for the operating system used by Google’s servers. Ironic, right?

The merge is probably an attempt to simplify things for those who are both business users and consumers. Anyway, there are also a few new additions, according to Google:

  • Upload and sync option for photos and videos with Google Photos and/or Drive– a similar option exists right now, but with no management options, just upload to both services.
  • Sync external disks and flash drives to the cloud – the current app allows this, so it’s not really new functionality. Maybe the options will change a bit.
  • Mirror Drive documents to local computer for faster access – this is really a cool option. Sometimes documents in Google Drive format take a really long time to open. Currently only a link to the actual cloud file is stored on your desktop.

The transition is scheduled to start in a few weeks and it will end in September 2021, when it will be mandatory to make the switch if you want to keep your computer in sync with your Drive cloud account.

Update: The new app is now available for download. I’ve switched to it already and it feels faster to sync large amounts of data.

What I don’t like is that it creates a new virtual mapped drive in your File Explorer, plus automatically adds a shortcut to Quick Access. If you remove that link it will be automatically recreated after a restart. It’s really annoying and I do hope to see an option shortly to turn this off.

Update: the new Google Drive app does one annoying thing, without asking: it maps your cloud account as a drive in File Explorer. I would like to see the option to remove that drive altogether.

Avatar for Ionuț-Alexandru Popa
I'm a writer and Editor-in-Chief at BinaryFork. I am passionate about technology, science, space exploration, and movies. I started writing about tech more than 20 years ago, after graduating in Computer Science.
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