Google’s new Drive app replaces backup and sync with Drive File Stream

Google has released a new Google Drive desktop app that replaces the older versions for individuals and businesses. The new Drive app integrates features from Google Photos, Backup & Sync (the old primarily consumer app) and Drive File Stream (the old business version).


Frankly, there doesn’t seem to be much new to the upgraded app – the update feels more like a cleanup and unification effort than anything else. The main features include:

  • Upload and sync photos to Google cloud storage, including automatic compression and resizing, for those who choose “storage saver” over the original image quality
  • Synchronization of external storage devices (USB sticks, USB hard drives and SSDs) with Google Drive
  • (Optional) two-way sync of files and folders: automatically upload files to local folders and vice versa
  • Drive folders mounted locally in Stream or Mirror mode: automatically downloading files on demand or automatically removing all files from the cloud
  • In-app support for shared Google drives (new feature, was not present in Backup and sync)
  • Integration with Microsoft Outlook and Google Meet scheduling

Upgrade to the new Drive app

According to Google introduction, users of the older Backup & Sync app will start receiving in-app prompts to switch to Desktop Drive, which he recommends users complete by September this year.

Backup and Sync users will support a guided workflow for the transition from the old app to the new one on July 19, and Google Workspace domains (both the quick and scheduled releases) will see notifications in the application inviting the transition from August 18. The outdated backup and the Sync app will cease to function entirely on October 1.

Who is it for ?

The answer is simple, but we want to draw a heavy underscore because it’s not typical these days—all Google service users can use the new Drive app. This includes free personal accounts and paid corporate Google Workspace accounts.

In other words, if you are a Google Drive user, it’s time to download the new app, there’s no point in postponing it. If you’re a Google Workspace admin, you have two months to test and deploy the new app before Backup and Sync runs and dies on October 1.

List image by Jim Salter