Here’s what you need to know about the changes made to Google Drive

8 Sep 2017

Google Drive desktop app logo. Image: dennizn/Shutterstock

Say goodbye to Google Drive as you know it.

If you’re a keen user of Google Drive app for desktop, you may want to take note of these changes, announced by Google on 7 September.

Google Drive for Mac or PC will no longer be supported as of 11 December of this year, with complete shutdown to follow on 12 March 2018.

The Google Drive apps for Mac and PC are to be replaced with two options: Backup and Sync, and Drive File Stream for enterprise users, so, rest assured Drive users aren’t being totally left in the lurch.

Key differences between new options

There are some key differences between Drive File Stream, and Backup and Sync.

Users of Drive File Stream are mainly enterprises, with all files being hosted in the cloud, as well as individual file syncing and team drive access. This is in an effort to minimise company data being downloaded onto individual employee computers.

“Say goodbye to time-consuming file syncing and any concerns about disk space,” Google said.

Users will be able to open and edit files entirely from the cloud, rather than downloading and editing files afterwards.

Drive File Stream has been in trial since March 2017 by selected early adopters, and it will become generally available on 26 September to all G Suite customers.

If you don’t want or need to download the new Drive File Stream, Google is encouraging users to upgrade to Backup and Sync, the consumer app that will replace both the Google Drive and Google Photos Uploader apps. The functionality of Backup and Sync is relatively similar to Google Drive as it was originally.

If you want to weigh up your syncing options, the G Suite help sites will answer any niggling questions you or your company might have about the correct call to make when making the big switch.

Users will still be able to access Google Drive on the web, but the company is encouraging users to give Backup and Sync a try.

Google Drive desktop app logo. Image: dennizn/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects