Google recently announced that they will be merging the two Google Drive apps – Google Drive File Stream and Backup and Sync – into a single application named Drive for desktop. This app has been made available for the public to use, but not all features that have been promised seem to be released yet.
In the coming months, we’ll make some changes to the solutions we offer to access Google Drive files and keep them in sync on your desktop.Microsoft
The purpose of this merged, unified application is to make things less complicated for the users who have deployed both solutions to access Google Drive’s content, one that was intended for business/ enterprise users and one for the consumer sector, as managing them both simultaneously could be confusing.
Let us continue to see what changes have been made to Google Drive for desktop so far and what is intended, and how it is different from the older versions.
Difference between Google Drive for desktop, File Stream, and Backup and Sync
We have already discussed the major differences in File Stream and Backup and Sync. However, with the addition of another similar application (Drive for desktop), we feel that it is important to compare all of them to understand why Microsoft felt the need for a unified app in the first place.
All three apps are used to backup and sync data between a computer and the cloud. Let us dig into the detailed comparison using the table below:
|Backup and Sync||File Stream||Drive for desktop|
|Use files in My Drive||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Use files in shared drives||No||Yes, if your plan includes shared drivers or you’re invited to a shared drive||Yes, if your plan includes shared drivers or you’re invited to a shared drive|
|Sync only selected folders in My Drive to your computer||Yes||No, but you can stream files instead to save disk space||No, but you can stream files instead to save disk space|
|Sync only individual files in My Drive for offline use||No||Yes||Yes|
|Open and store non-Google files (Microsoft Office, etc.)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|See who’s editing (real-time)||No||Yes||Yes|
|Integrates with Microsoft Outlook, Meet scheduling||No||Yes||Yes|
|Sync local folders (Documents, Desktop, etc.)||Yes||No||Yes|
|Backup photos and videos to Google Photos||Yes||No||Yes|
|Backup photos and videos directly to Google Photos (Opposed to Google Drive)||No||No||Yes|
|Access multiple accounts simultaneously||Yes||No||Yes|
|Upload Apple Photos Library||Yes||No||Yes|
|Upload from USB||Yes||No||Yes|
|File extensions that you can ignore||Yes||No||No|
It can be concluded from the table above that the major difference between the new Drive for desktop and Drive File Stream is support to synchronize individual local folders, which you previously couldn’t. We would like to point out that although Google claims that this feature has been added, we were unable to verify this as the option to do so has yet to be incorporated.
Moreover, media, such as pictures and videos, can be synced directly to Google Photos, as opposed to Google Drive.
Another significant feature added is the support for multiple user accounts to be logged-in in Drive for desktop at the same time, and all you need to do is switch account.
Other features have been restored from Backup and Sync that were removed from the File Stream, such as uploading content directly from a USB and the ability to upload Apple photos library.
You can download and install Google Drive for your desktop on your Windows PC or Mac using the guide below.
- Open Google’s dedicated page to deploy Google Drive for desktop. Once open, scroll down and expand the option for the respective computer type – Windows or Mac.
- Now click on the download button and your download should begin almost instantaneously.
- Once the download is complete, run the executable package. Click on Install and follow the wizard. Enter your Google account credentials when asked to.
Google Drive for desktop will now have successfully installed on your PC. You can now also find a dedicated drive through your File Explorer.
How to uninstall Google Drive for Desktop
If you experience difficulties with the new application and wish to remove it, you can uninstall the Drive for desktop application just like a regular app, through the Control Panel. However, you must first quit the application to remove it completely. Here is how:
- Click on the Google Drive icon in the System Tray. Then, click the gear icon in the top-right corner and click Quit.
- Now type in appwiz.cpl in Run to launch Programs and features and double-click Google Drive to remove it. If a confirmation box pops up, click Uninstall.
Although Drive for desktops has been made available for the public to use, some of the features are yet to be introduced. As Google intends to make the transition for all users as smooth as possible, it might be a reason why all features have not yet been released.
Having said that, some users might not become fond of the new app as it lacks the very basic necessity of selective uploading of files and folders.