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Technology » Google Drive File Sync

Google Drive File Sync

Google Drive is a cloud-based storage system. That means the actual files are stored on Google servers--not the local hard drive of your computer. We access them through a web browser like Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox. This is a great feature that lets you access files from any device you sign into. It can store ANY type of file.  However, you can't aways edit certain files within the browser. Files from Adobe Photoshop, Mac Pages/Keynote, SMART Notebook, or even Microsoft Word can't be edited within the browser. They need to be edited from the application on your local computer. It's a hassle to download them, edit them, then upload them back into Google Drive for safe keeping. If you only access Google Drive from your web browser, you can stop reading this and go back to your business. 
Google has historically provided us with what we refer to as the "Google Drive client" (pictured below)--officially known as “Google Drive for Mac/PC” I hated this application. It caused a lot of problems when it randomly decided to not sync. For that reason, I didn't encourage people to use it, but some people wanted to due to the above file editing issue. 
Old Google Drive Icon in Mac menu bar
As some of you have noticed, Google is making changes to the program. The new program is called Google File Stream. I heard from someone recently who got the warning below. Luckily, we have until May 12th, 2018 to make the change. 
Google Drive Warning about the end to the old Google Drive client
I really only access Google Drive from my browser myself, but to help others, I have been using the new Google File Stream for a few weeks and it seems to work pretty well. You can download and install this yourself by following this link. After you install it, your new menu bar icon will look like this:
New Goole File Stream icon in Mac menu bar
After you sign in to your Google account, and it syncs, within Finder, you will now see Google Drive and all your files, like you see below. Now, your files are not actually downloaded to your computer, or available offline... yet. This means you can still only access these files if you have access to the Internet--see below to change that. 
Google Drive file stream screenshot in Mac Finder
FYI--I tried to edit a Mac Pages file ​and it worked nicely, but since Pages saves older versions of your files, I got this warning. No worries, just click OK.
Google Drive warning when saving files in File stream
If you often don't have access to the Internet and you want to be able edit your Google Drive files or certain folders of files offline, without the Internet,  you have to designate the files or folders you want off-line access too. I would just be careful that you don't make your entire Google Drive available offline--it might require more space than what you have on your MacBook. To make them available off-line, simply open Finder on your Mac and 2 finger click (right click) the file or folder you want and select Drive File Stream>Available Offline. This will download it to your local hard drive and sync up with Google's servers the next time you're online. If you have any trouble, just contact your local building technician. Happy Googling!
Google Drive screenshot on Mac to make files available offline