Google is killing off Drive sync client in March: Here's what replaces it

Google has detailed the options for replacing the Drive client for consumers and enterprise users.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google Drive on the web is staying, but consumers are being encouraged to install the replacement Drive app, called Backup and Sync. (Image: Google)

Google has launched Drive File Stream, a newish file storage service for all G Suite customers that will replace the Google Drive desktop app.

Google has now deprecated the Drive app for Mac and PC both for consumers and the enterprise. It will shut down the app for good on March 12, 2018. In October, users might see a message in Drive that the client is "going away" and Google will drop support for it in December.

Google Drive on the web is staying, but consumers are being encouraged to install the replacement Drive app, called Backup and Sync, which Google launched in July as a client for backing up and syncing photos and files. It also replaced the Google Photos uploader app.

For the enterprise, there's Google Drive Stream, which streams files to a machine from the cloud rather than syncing them between the device and the cloud. Google has been trialing this with some users since announcing it in March and will roll it out to all G Suite customers this month.

Drive File Stream is designed to save on local disk space and cuts out delays while files sync. As of yesterday, admins will see a new setting for Drive File Stream, allowing them to setup the system for their users. Drive File Stream will become generally available to G Suite end-users on Sept. 26.

Drive File Stream has a number of enterprise and collaboration features that aren't available in Backup and Sync, such as the ability to access files in Team Drives, a tool for creating groups with access to relevant drives, and controlling who can access and edit certain files.

This feature is designed to minimize the risk of employees downloading company data to their computers.

Enterprise users can still install Backup and Sync, but if they run it alongside Drive File Stream they'll be prompted to stop syncing My Drive with Backup and Sync.

Google is predicting some confusion among end users. To help them understand the differences between Backup and Sync and Drive File Stream it has posted a comparison chart.

It's even posted a sample email that admins can use to explain what Drive File Stream is and why they should use it.


Google's table is designed to show the role of Backup and Sync versus Drive File Stream. (Image: Google)

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