Google Drive, Backup and Sync, and Google Drive File Stream

For Mac and Windows users there are lots of ways to access files in Google Drive. You can work with document through the browsers or use the Drive App (recently revamped as Backup and Sync) to sync files in a local drive folder to google’s cloud. The new Backup and Sync app also lets you choose folders to backup to the cloud. While this is not the only thing you should do to backup your files, it is certainly a good thing to do.

This year Google also introduced Team Drives, which function as file servers–a team can have a folder, and team members can share and access files and folder there, based on group permission. If your group would like access to a team drive, please send email to help@cs.unc.edu. Team Drives do not show up in your Google Drive folder, but are visible in the browser interface.

We are currently an early adopter of Google Drive File Stream, but the software should be publicly soon. What this software does is mount your Team Drive and your Google Drive space just like a regular file server. This makes it easy to use your OS file interface to organize your files.

What about linux users? There are some options.

  • rclone, which uses Google’s API to create a link to Google’s cloud. It also supports lots of other cloud services, so it’s a nice tool for folks who use lots of different could services. It does not provide automatic syncing for directly makes, so it’s more like using rsync over ssh to move files back and forth.
  • Another free alternative is GNOME 3.1.8, which has added support for Google Drive. Though not a syncing system, it allow linux users to open and edits file through a window, and documents saved are synced back up to Google. Here are some instructions.
  • GoSync is a python script that will sync folders to Google’s cloud every ten minutes, this may be a good option for making backups to Google Drive.
  • Not free, Insync is a cross platform syncing client that supports linux, macs, and windows. $29.99 is the one time license fee for the current version, and you get unlimited installs to set up syncing to one google account. It offers more features than any of the free methods listed above.
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