Last month, we reported that Drive File Stream was being renamed to “Google Drive for desktop.” This name change is part of a broader move in 2021 to unify the current enterprise client with the consumer-focused Backup and Sync app that offers Google Photos upload.
Some of our Google Workspace customers have deployed both sync solutions, which can be confusing for end users and challenging for IT departments to manage. To address this, we’re planning to unify these sync clients later in 2021, bringing the most used features from both Drive File Stream and Backup and Sync to all of our users.
At a high-level, Backup and Sync is going away in favor of a new “Google Drive for desktop” that’s meant for consumers and business users alike. The app previously known as Drive File Stream will be updated to also “back up photos and videos to Google Photos,” as well as upload an Apple Photos library and connected USB storage.
Other consumer features coming include syncing local folders (Documents, Desktop, etc.) to Google Drive, and multi-account access. Meanwhile, regular users will be able to sync individual files in My Drive for offline use, a dark mode, and see some Microsoft Office and Outlook integrations.
The changes start with Drive File Stream being renamed as of version 45 — as seen in the screenshots below. This is currently just a branding change and “all functionality will remain the same,” but the app will get the big update later this year.
At that time, Backup and Sync users will be transitioned to that new version of Drive for desktop:
We’ll announce when Drive for desktop is ready for Backup and Sync users. We will share more details later this year on how Backup and Sync users can get started with Drive for desktop. We will provide 3 months’ notice for Google Workspace admins and end users before the deadline to transition to Drive for desktop. The transition will be self-serve for end users. More details on consumer timelines will be announced closer to availability.
Ahead of that, Google Workspace accounts can preview the new beta client by signing up for a preview.
This unification is meant to simplify the IT deployment process and reduce confusion around which app to use. It will also “result in better performance for end users,” a complaint for some today.
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