Google revealed this week that it will consolidate its two desktop sync clients into a single solution for all users sometime in 2021.
“Currently, we have two sync solutions available, Drive File Stream, which was built for business users, and Backup and Sync, which was built for consumer users,” a new post to the Google Workspace Updates blog explains. “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.”
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The new unified sync client will be called Google Drive for desktop, according to a separate support document that also explains which are the “most used features” that will make the transition, and which will not.
A beta version of 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 G Suite Basic, Business, Education, Enterprise for Education, and Nonprofits customers who currently have users with the Backup and Sync deployed, Google says. You can apply here.
As for the timing of the public release, it’s unclear. Google says that it will announce when Drive for desktop is ready for users, and it will share more details about how Backup and Sync users can get started with Drive for desktop “later this year.” And Google Workspace admins and users will get 3 months’ notice before the deadline to transition to Drive for desktop.