Google Drive’s unified desktop app rolls out later this year for Mac and Windows
Earlier this year, Google announced that it would be unifying the Backup and Sync and Drive File Stream apps for desktop. The apps are merging under the new Drive for desktop app, which brings together most of the features of both. The company said at the time that Backup and Sync users would need to switch to the new Drive app, and now, we know that will happen in October.
Google laid out its plans today, and starting next week, Backup and Sync users will be able to use a guided process to switch to the new Drive for desktop app. However, for now, they won’t be forced or asked to make the switch. That will start on August 18, with prompts telling users that they need to make the switch in order to keep syncing files.
You’ll have to switch to the new Drive app during September, though, because on October 1, the Backup and Sync app will no longer work. You won’t be able to login anymore, and you’ll only be able to sync your files with the new Drive app for desktop. This doesn’t affect the files themselves, naturally, you’ll just need to switch apps to see them.
Once you make the transition, you’ll notice some feature changes. Some features will be added, while others will be removed or tweaked. For example, the new Google Drive for desktop app supports dark mode, while Backup and Sync doesn’t. The new app can also integrate with Outlook calendar and Google Meet scheduling, and it supports real-time co-editing for Microsoft Office files. On the other hand, you can’t choose specific folders to sync to Google Drive, though you can choose to only stream files you need instead of downloading them. You also don’t get the option to ignore certain file extensions anymore.
For Drive File Stream users, the process is much simpler, since the app was simply rebranded to Google Drive for desktop. Users didn’t have to take any specific action for it to happen, and no features were removed, only added. If you want to download the new Drive for desktop client right now, you can download it for Windows here or for macOS here.