Google Drive for Desktop app: 4 reasons why you should install it

3 months ago 15
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Andy Wolber thinks that Google Drive for desktop is simply a must-install app for radical who usage Google Workspace with Windows oregon macOS systems.

Drawing of Google Drive logo, with words "for desktop" beneath  it, with a drawn Windows and Apple logo beneath  the words.

Illustration: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

The Google Drive for Desktop app gives radical who usage Windows oregon macOS devices streamlined entree to Google Drive folders and files. The app handles tasks antecedently offered successful 2 abstracted apps, the Google Drive File Stream app and the Backup and Sync app. The app whitethorn beryllium added to a system either by an idiosyncratic oregon deployed by an head to organization-managed devices. On Windows, the app appears successful the strategy tray (lower close corner), portion connected macOS, the app displays successful the paper barroom (top of the screen).

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Once installed, the Google Drive for Desktop app delivers 4 cardinal features for radical who usage Windows oregon macOS devices. First, it lets you entree Google Drive from your section strategy (i.e., either Apple's Finder connected macOS oregon Microsoft's File Explorer connected Windows) without the request to unfastened a web browser. Second, it allows you to prime and sync files and folders betwixt your instrumentality and Google Drive. Third, Drive for desktop besides offers the quality to backup photos (including screenshots and RAW photos) to Google Photos. Fourth, you whitethorn present motion successful to arsenic galore arsenic 4 antithetic Google accounts astatine once, which gives you entree to files and chiseled configuration options for each account. The pursuing sections screen cardinal points of each of these features.

(Note: Keep successful caput that a Google Workspace head whitethorn power organizational entree to Drive for desktop. If you can't entree the Drive for desktop app with an organizational account, inquire your Workspace head to reappraisal settings successful the Admin console | Apps | Google Workspace | Drive and Docs | Google Drive for desktop.)

1. You'll person section record strategy entree to Google Drive

The Drive for desktop app lets you browse Drive folders and files, conscionable arsenic you browse files and folders stored connected your device's section retention (Figure A). That means you whitethorn unfastened and prevention items from Drive overmuch arsenic you would different files connected your system. Without the Drive for desktop app, you would person had to unfastened a browser, spell to drive.google.com, prime a file, past download it to your device. Or, conversely, spell done akin steps and past prime a record to upload it. The Drive for desktop app obviates each of that: Just navigate with the modular record strategy controls to enactment with Google Drive files.

Figure A

 thrust  (for a 2nd  Google account), with My Drive and Shared drives folders displayed. Lower close    screenshot from macOS shows a azygous  Google Drive, with My Drive and Shared drives folders displayed.

The Google Drive for desktop app lets you entree files and folders connected Drive from your section record system, arsenic shown present successful the Windows 10 File Explorer (upper near image) and macOS Finder (lower close image).

2. You tin customize offline point access 

With Drive for desktop, you whitethorn take either to Stream oregon Mirror files from Drive to your instrumentality (Figure B). Choose to reflector files lone erstwhile you are definite you person capable section retention abstraction for a section transcript of everything you person connected your Google Drive. If you take the Mirror option, the strategy syncs your Google Drive retention with your system. Good news: That means you'll person entree to each of your mirrored files–even erstwhile you're offline. Bad news: You whitethorn request to show your storage.

If you person a reliable net connection, I urge astir radical take the watercourse setting. When you take to stream, the Drive for desktop app inactive shows you everything stored connected Google Drive, but lone downloads items arsenic needed. This enactment means you whitethorn usage a machine with precise small section retention and alternatively trust connected Google Drive fundamentally arsenic a distant unreality drive. 

Importantly, adjacent if you prime the watercourse option, you whitethorn manually prime folders and files to sync. For example, if there's a peculiar folder that contains items you ever privation available, you whitethorn prime it and past right-click (on Windows) oregon control-click (on macOS), past set the offline entree to marque it disposable offline.

Figure B

Screenshot of the archetypal   Drive installation surface  that explains the Stream files and Mirror files options. Stream stores items successful  the cloud, portion    Mirror syncs everything for offline access.

In the Google Drive for desktop app, you whitethorn take either to Stream oregon Mirror files betwixt Google Drive and your section storage.

3. You tin configure Photo backup

Google Drive for desktop besides tin backup photos from your instrumentality to Google Photos. Just similar the Google Photos apps connected iOS and Android, you tin take to upload photos either successful archetypal prime oregon successful a compressed version, labeled arsenic "storage saver" mode. 

Two different photo-related options fto you take whether oregon not to upload screenshots oregon RAW photos to Google Photos (Figure C). RAW photos whitethorn beryllium importantly larger than accepted jpeg oregon heic format files, which tin person some retention and bandwidth usage implications. Uncheck the RAW photos container to forestall the app from uploading RAW format photograph files. The screenshot setting, however, is adjuvant erstwhile you privation to support Google Photos mostly focused connected images you either seizure with a camera oregon make with an app. Uncheck the screenshot checkbox to support screenshots from being uploaded to Google Photos.

Figure C

Screenshot of the Drive for desktop Google Photos settings, with Upload size options, arsenic  good   arsenic  record  benignant   checkboxes for Upload screenshots and Upload RAW files.

Select either Storage Saver oregon Original Quality for photos uploaded to Google Photos.

4. You tin entree files from up to 4 accounts

Google Drive for desktop supports up to 4 antithetic work, schoolhouse oregon idiosyncratic Google accounts. That means you whitethorn usage the app to entree some a Google Drive for enactment and a Google Drive idiosyncratic account, with some accounts signed successful simultaneously (Figure D). For example, connected Windows, your enactment relationship mightiness beryllium added arsenic a G: drive, portion a idiosyncratic relationship is the H: drive. You whitethorn configure settings, specified arsenic real-time beingness indicators for Office editing, for each relationship separately.

Figure D

 Two are paid Workspace accounts, portion    1  is simply a idiosyncratic   Gmail.com account.

Add up to 4 accounts wrong the Drive for Desktop app. These accounts whitethorn beryllium a premix of organizational and idiosyncratic accounts, arsenic shown here.

What's your acquisition with Drive for Desktop?

In my opinion, the Google Drive for Desktop is simply a must-install app for radical who usage Google Workspace with Windows oregon macOS systems. If you've installed and utilized Drive for Desktop, what has your acquisition been? Have you recovered the updated and consolidated app to enactment smoothly connected your macOS oregon Windows system? How has the app changed your workflow? Let maine cognize what your Drive for Desktop acquisition has been, either successful the comments beneath oregon connected Twitter (@awolber). 

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