Google Drive desktop app gets the axe

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Google Drive desktop app gets the axe

The file syncing apps for Windows and MacOS are being pensioned off, but Google is rolling out replacements.

The tech giant is phasing out its Google Drive app for desktops in six months. For individual users, the successor to Google Drive is Backup and Sync.

Available for Windows and macOS, Backup and Sync replaces the Google Drive application for those platforms. It lets users nominate the folders they want to continuously back up to Google Drive.

It also supports SD cards and connected cameras, so it also serves as a replacement for the Google Photos uploader. Like the current Drive app, changes made to files are synced to the user's other devices.

From October, Google Drive users on Windows and macOS may start seeing warnings that the product has been deprecated. The Google Drive and Google Photos apps for Android and iOS remain available.

Drive File Stream for G Suite

It’s a different story for G Suite customers. The new Drive File Stream application has been available to early adopters since March, so it should be well tested by the time it reaches the rest of us.

It works a little like Dropbox's Smart Sync feature in that it makes all of the user's or team's Google Drive files accessible without taking up space on the computer's storage.

Apparently the most-used files are cached, and users can ensure particular files are kept up to date on the computer for offline use.

G Suite administrators can now activate the new Drive File Stream feature for their users, even though it doesn't go live until 26 September.

One significant change is that Team Drive files are read-only when opened in Drive File Stream. They must be opened in Google Drive's web interface for editing.

Drive File Stream can co-exist with Backup and Sync, although G Suite administrators can prevent their users from running Backup and Sync. The default is that if Google Drive for Windows and macOS was permitted, so is Backup and Sync.

When both apps are installed, users will be prompted to stop syncing My Drive with Backup and Sync. If they don't, all of the files available from Drive File Stream will be downloaded by Backup and Sync.

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