Project Description

📖 3 mins read
In the coming months, Google will make some changes to the solutions it offers to access Google Drive files and keep them in sync on your desktop. There is no immediate action required, but Google suggests familiarizing yourself with the changes and plans described below.
Currently, Google has two sync solutions available—Drive File Stream, which was built for business users, and Backup and Sync, which was built for consumer users.
Some 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, Google plans on unifying these sync clients later in 2021, bringing the most used features from both Drive File Stream and Backup and Sync to all users.

Who’s impacted

Admins and end users

Why it’s important

Google is planning on unifying its sync clients and bringing it’s customers the best and most used features from both Drive File Stream and Backup and Sync. This will create a powerful and unified sync client for anyone who uses Drive, whether for business or personal purposes, and will:
  • Make it easier for admins and IT teams to manage deployments
  • Reduce user confusion around which app to use
  • Result in better performance for end users
The beta for the new unified client will help organizations currently using Backup and Sync understand how the new client will work prior to it becoming generally available later in 2021.

Additional details 

Drive File Stream is now Google Drive for desktop
As of version 45, Drive File Stream is known as Google Drive for desktop. This is simply a name change; all functionality will remain the same and most admins and end users won’t need to take any action to continue using the client. See Google’s release notes for more details.
 
Backup and Sync functionality and users will be transitioned to a new version of Drive for desktop later this year 
Later this year, Backup and Sync users will need to transition to Drive for desktop, the unified sync client. Until then, Google is working to incorporate features from Backup and Sync into the new solution and to make it as easy as possible for users.
Google will announce when Drive for desktop is ready for Backup and Sync users and share more details later this year on how Backup and Sync users can get started with Drive for desktop. Google 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. Visit Google’s Help Center to learn more about which features will be transitioned to Drive for desktop.
 
Google Workspace customers can now preview the new Drive for desktop client in beta 
Google Workspace customers with end users who are currently using Backup and Sync can apply for a beta of the new unified Drive for desktop experience, which includes Backup and Sync features. Learn more, and sign up for the beta.

Getting started

  • End users: The name change from Drive File Stream to Drive for desktop will take place by default. Functionality won’t change, and there is no user action required.
    • Note that there’s also no action required for Backup & Sync users with personal Google accounts at this time.

Rollout pace

Drive File Stream renaming to Drive for desktop 
Drive for desktop unified client beta 

Availability

  • Drive for desktop is available to Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, and Enterprise Plus, as well as Google Workspace Basic, Business, Education, Enterprise for Education, Nonprofits customers, and users with personal Accounts.
  • The beta for the new unified client is available to Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, and Enterprise Plus, as well as Google Workspace Basic, Business, Education, Enterprise for Education, and Nonprofits customers who currently have users with the Backup and Sync deployed.
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