Google has just released a new Google Drive desktop app for Windows and Mac to replace the backup and sync tools and Drive File Stream, which ends on October 1
Here is Google’s official page-by-page summary:
Note that the new Drive for Desktop app is not the only way to access Google Drive on your desktop. Drive can also be installed as a Progressive Web App (PWA), which takes up less space and uses fewer system resources than the new app does. However, the new desktop app has more features and is integrated into your local files, storage devices and applications in ways PWA can‘t. In other words, this seems to be the best, most comprehensive Google Drive desktop app yet.
How to install and use the new Drive desktop app
The Google Drive desktop app is now available for Windows and Mac. Download the current installation file for your device using links in Google’s announcement blog, and then follow the on-screen instructions to get started.
After installing the app and signing in with your Google Account, Google Drive will be available as a browser folder for your computer named “My Drive.” All your Google Drive files are viewed from this folder while you are online or if they are synced with your PC for offline access.
By default, opening a Google Doc file loads it in your browser, but you can also open it in Microsoft Office. If other Google users have access to a file, Microsoft Office – in addition to other programs like Excel – will even show you if another user is editing the file, just as Google Docs will.
Other files open with your default desktop app – images open in Windows Photo Viewer, for example. These are streamed to your desktop and are not stored on your hard drive, saving space.
However, you can click and drag files in the “My Drive” folder to your desktop or anywhere else on your PC to save them locally, or drag and drop files from your PC to the Google Drive folder to upload them to the cloud. . If you are logged in to multiple devices at the same time, your files are synced across all at once.
In addition to the “My Drive” dedicated folder, there is also a Google Drive widget available from the taskbar or Mac menu in Windows. The module displays your most recent Drive activity – including recently uploaded files – and other important alerts.
Clicking on the gear icon at the top right of the module opens the settings context menu. From here, you can change your local storage folder, switch to another Google Account, and view other devices you’re signed in to. You can also disable synchronization at any time by going to Settings> Pause synchronization. Oh, and if dark mode is turned on in the desktop settings, the widget automatically switches to the dark theme.