Google Will Finally Consolidate Its Desktop Sync Clients

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.

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Conversation 10 comments

  • spiderman2

    05 February, 2021 - 10:22 am

    <p>Glad I always used OneDrive and in office we finally ditched gsuite for o365</p>

  • crunchyfrog

    05 February, 2021 - 10:57 am

    <p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">This is a big step forward. My wife uses Google for work but also has a personal account and is a confusing mess. Having a unified client (assuming it works the way I suspect) will be a very welcomed upgrade.</span></p>

  • dftf

    05 February, 2021 - 11:38 am

    <p>Speaking of consolidation, wasn't Microsoft supported to be merging all of the separate Android Office apps (e.g. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) into one? I'm still using the separated-versions at the moment, and had no messages flash-up in-app to say they are going away…</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      06 February, 2021 - 9:20 am

      Hm. I’m not sure if that’s the plan, to be honest.

  • kingv84

    05 February, 2021 - 12:12 pm

    <blockquote><em><a href="#611876">In reply to behindmyscreen:</a></em></blockquote><p>lol yeah</p>

  • dftf

    05 February, 2021 - 1:29 pm

    <blockquote><em><a href="#611870">In reply to SvenJ:</a></em></blockquote><p>If you just Google "Play Store Microsoft Word" you can view the page inside your browser… they're still in the Play Store as-of-now, and I can still use them on my Pixel 3a running Android 11.</p><p><br></p><p>In the notes the standalone Microsoft Word app though, it does say "Support for Kitkat &amp; Lollipop devices will continue till June 2019". If your device runs an old OS, that might be why you're getting the message you are, and why you cannot see it in the Store…</p>

  • dftf

    05 February, 2021 - 1:38 pm

    <blockquote><em><a href="#611870">In reply to SvenJ:</a></em></blockquote><p>If your device has KitKat or Lollipop, you can go to a site like APKMirror and download the .APK installer file manually… taking a quick-look, the last version of Word that says it supports "Android 4.4+" is 16.0.10730.20043 from August 25, 2018. After that, they state "Android 6.0+" minimum. Imagine Excel and PowerPoint will also stop around the same-date</p>

  • SRLRacing

    05 February, 2021 - 2:55 pm

    <p>My client was updated a couple of days ago from Drive File Stream to the new unified client. I haven't noticed any differences. </p>

  • ebraiter

    05 February, 2021 - 6:12 pm

    <p>And expect Google to pull Google Drive for desktop in favor of something else.</p>

  • dftf

    06 February, 2021 - 6:39 pm

    <blockquote><em><a href="#611942">In reply to SvenJ:</a></em></blockquote><p>Yes, in the Play Store if I search for MICROSOFT WORD the first-result is "Microsoft Word: Write and edit docs on the go"</p><p><br></p><p>This is a link to it:</p><p><br></p><p></p><p><br></p><p>Go to that link in a browser on your Android device and it should ask if you want to open using the Play Store. Do that, and it should take you to the page.</p><p><br></p><p>If you get "item not found" or "item unavailable" then either (1) your device is running a version of Android older-than Marshmallow (6.0) and so you can't download it or (2) your device might have come with the all-in-one Office app preinstalled, and so Microsoft won't allow you to use the separated versions</p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

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