Let’s be honest, the old Google Drive Backup & Sync option (which still exists) is not reliable. That’s been my experience, at least. It constantly failed to synchronize hundreds of files and continued to get stuck retracing its steps each time I would turn my PC on. Google Drive File Stream is much more reliable and works by ‘streaming’ your files to you not unlike a Chromebook’s Files app does. Now, Google is ‘unifying’ the two solutions to ‘reduce confusion’. My take is that they’re allowing File Stream to gobble up Backup & Sync because it’s old news.
That’s not to say that the ability to locally store your cloud files instead of streaming them to you will go away. The term ‘unifying’ is being used because they truly are creating an all-in-one solution for those who prefer one over the other. Backup & Sync was built for consumers while File Stream was built for Workspace users. I’ve found that File Stream is a much better solution for me as a consumer and as a business user, so I’ve opted for it over the old tool thanks to its reliability and rapid access to my files.
If you’re interested in previewing the Google Drive for Desktop beta and you’re a Workspace user, you can fill out this test application to try to get access to it before it fully rolls out to everyone later this year. The goal with this change is that IT departments will no longer have to guess or work out which solution a customer is utilizing before they offer them support – they will effectively be one in the same before long.
The new ‘Google Drive for Desktop’ as it’s being called will take the best and most used features from both pieces of software and combine them into one, thus improving performance and adoption across the board. Backup & Sync users functionality and users will be automatically transitioned to the new Drive for Desktop when it’s ready. When that time comes, Google will provide organizations with a three months heads up so that they can make preparations for the transition. If you want to see the full break down on which features will be taken from both and placed into the unified sync client, you should check out the list.
Workspace EssentialsAvailability of the beta for the unified client
G Suite Basic
G Suite for Business
G Suite for Education
Enterprise for Education
Nonprofits customers who currently have users with the Backup and Sync deployed