Google Drive for desktop will be the one app to rule them all

JC Torres - Feb 4, 2021, 6:58pm CST
Google Drive for desktop will be the one app to rule them all

Although not as terrible as its messaging apps and services, Google’s narrative for cloud syncing on the desktop isn’t exactly as clear-cut as it could or should be. There is only one Google Drive, of course, though you can pay for storage through a variety of subscriptions and offers. There is also just one Google Drive app for mobile but when it comes to the desktop, the situation can be a bit confusing and, thankfully, Google is finally changing that.

There was actually a single Google Drive app in the past but, in Google’s infinite wisdom, it “upgraded” that app and split it into two. There’s Drive File Stream that was available only for enterprise customers and there’s Backup and Sync for everyone else. Unsurprisingly, some of those Workspace customers installed and managed both, creating no small amount of confusion.

Google has finally seen the light and it will be unifying those two into one and its name will unsurprisingly be “Google Drive for desktop”. It’s really a sleight of hand, though, as Drive for Desktop is really just Drive File Stream renamed. Considering how some users of Backup and Sync have been complaining about performance issues, it might be for Google to retire it.

In other words, admins and users of Drive File Stream won’t have to do anything to transition to Drive for Desktop. It will be a simple renaming process that will happen when version 45 of the app rolls out. There will be no features lost or gain, for that matter, at least for this update.

Backup and Sync users, on the other hand, will have to move over to the new unified Drive for Desktop client but not before Google has managed to move over the features to the new app. That won’t happen until later this year and Google promises to give users three months’ notice before it shuts down the older app.


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