On December 11, 2017, Google ends support for Google Drive.app as a supported client to access files hosted in the Google Drive cloud storage service. Google offers two replacements for Google Drive.app: Backup and Sync from Google.app and Google Drive File Stream.app. Which Google application you elect to use depends on how you wish to access your Google Drive-stored files, your G Suite account status and which version of the macOS you need support for.
Backup and Sync from Google.app
Backup and Sync from Google.app is the direct replacement for Google Drive.app in functionality and usability. In fact, Backup and Sync from Google.app is the version 3.x upgrade of Google Drive.app (last available version was v2.34).
Backup and Sync from Google.app works with OS X 10.7 or better and will work with any Gmail or G Suite account.
Backup and Sync from Google.app works much like Google Drive.app: a folder named Google Drive is created in the user's Home Folder, and the user can add files and folders to the Google Drive folder or they can select files and folders on disk they wish to sync in the preferences. Files and folders in the Google Drive folder are automatically uploaded and/or download to and from Google's cloud storage as they are created, added or deleted, maintaining a continuous copy on the Hard Drive.
If a user was previously signed into and using Google Drive.app, at first launch Backup and Sync from Google.app should automatically take over the sign in and file sync configuration from Google Drive.app. If a user had not previously used Google's services, the user will need to sign into Backup and Sync from Google.app and setup sync options.
Google Drive File Stream.app
Google Drive File Stream.app is an entirely new offering from Google that works in a fundamentally different way than Google Drive.app. With Google Drive File Stream.app, all files are kept in Google Drive cloud storage until they are accessed. At the moment of access, files are automatically fetched from the cloud storage and streamed to the local disk. Google Drive File Stream.app requires an active internet connection to Google Drive cloud storage service to properly operate, though users can manually select files to cache locally for off-line access. Provided a machine has a working internet connection, Google Drive File Stream.app creates the opportunity to not use local disk space for file storage until those files are needed, potentially freeing up disk space. A second benefit of Google Drive File Stream.app is the ability to work with shared Google Drive Team Drives.
Google Drive File Stream.app requires OS X 10.11 or higher and a G Suite account.
After installation, users will need to sign into Google Drive File Stream.app. At sign in, users are required to agree to Google Drive File Stream.app ability to access their files.
Once in use, Google Drive File Stream.app will create what looks like a new network volume named Google Drive on the machine. Within the new Google Drive volume are two folders, My Drive and Team Drive. My Drive contains all of the user's files synced with the Google Drive service. Team Drives contains all of the Team Drives a user has access to. Google Drive File Stream.app will also create an alias within a user's Home Folder to the newly created Google Drive volume.
If a user signs out of Google Drive File Stream.app, all links to and caches of files stored in Google's cloud storage are removed from the machine.
- Google's side-by-side comparison of the the two services: https://support.google.com/a/answer/7491633
- Both Backup and Sync from Google.app and Google Drive File Stream.app can be installed on the same machine at the same time, and users should be able to configure each application to sync different sets of files and folders.
- Use of both applications require Drive and Drive File Stream access to be enabled in Apps Admin > Apps > G Suite > Settings for Drive and Docs > Data Access
- Backup and Sync from Google.app does not support access to Team Drives. At this time Google Drive File Stream.app supports viewing Team Drives but does not allow editing of files stored on Team Drives. To edit Team Drive files, users must access those files on the web via a supported browser.