Friday, December 8, 2017

Google Drive Stream - all the files without the space

With unlimited file storage, fast search, straight forward collaboration and easy sharing, Google Drive is a great tool. However, there are some file types Google can’t read and so you need to continue using local applications (e.g., Microsoft, Photoshop, video editing, etc) to edit those files (which means downloading the file to your computer).

Google Drive recently announced Google Drive File Stream. If you’ve used Google’s Desktop Sync tool, then you’re already familiar with the concept: files stored in Google Drive are also available on your desktop (if you’re fine working through Google Drive on your browser then you don’t need to install Drive File Stream). With the new tool, instead of maintaining a copy on your desktop, Google will “stream” it to your computer when it’s needed. This means you can have access to all your files without actually storing them on your computer. However, as it is streaming from Google, you will need an internet connection to access the files, but you can also indicate which folders/files you want to maintain offline copies of for those times you don’t have internet access.

Installation is pretty easy — just download and run the installer ( and Google will mount a new drive on your computer called Google Drive. This container acts like an external drive with all your Google data. Best part, you can access your regular Google Drive files as well as Team Drives — all in one location. And you will always have access to your files using your browser.

If there are files that you’d like to have stored on your computer, just right-click and mark it available offline.

Google Drive File Stream is only available for education and business Google accounts. Personal Gmail accounts can use Google’s new Backup and Sync solution (, although education/business accounts can also use it. Both products are intended to replace the old Desktop Sync application, which will stop functioning in March 2018.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Google/Outlook Calendar Dating Game

When my university first moved to Outlook, one of the first things people asked was how they could see events from their personal Google calendar in their MacEwan Outlook calendar. So, we’re going to take a look at a few things:

  1. Show your work availability from Outlook to anyone (great for users outside of your domain)
  2. Share your Outlook events with details (to share with individuals or your personal Google calendar)
  3. View your personal Google calendar in Outlook.

You must use the web client to set this up. Sharing or publishing your calendar allows you to view the information — you can only make changes in the original calendar.

1. Share your availability with everyone
MacEwan Outlook users can use the Scheduling Assistant ( to see each other’s availability when booking a time. However, external users can’t do the same unless you publish your calendar. This will not only provide a html page with showing your busy/free times (no details), but a link to have the same information appear in your Google calendar.

To start:
  1. Login to
  2. In the top right, click on the Settings icon (i.e. gear) and go to Calendar - Shared calendars - Calendar publishing (
  3. Select the calendar called Calendar (your personal calendar) and select Availability only for permissions. This will not display any details of your schedule.
  4. Save

You’ll now have 2 links:
  • HTML (generates a web page)
  • ICS (used by other calendar apps to subscribe to your schedule)

With the HTML link, users can view your schedule by Day, Week, or Month for any date.

To make this easy to access, add the link to the signature line in your email (you can use a link shortener like Here’s my signature:

Trevor Beck
Web Services, MacEwan University
See my availability:

2. Sharing the details of your schedule

Sometimes you have people you want to be able share the details of your calendar (e.g. your personal Google account, a colleague, your spouse). As you don’t want to change the sharing on your published page for everyone to see (as above), we will share the calendar with just the individual.

From the Calendar view, select Calendar (i.e. your MacEwan calendar) from the Share menu.

Here you can choose different individuals to to share your calendar with different levels of details. To share with my personal Google account:

  1. Enter personal email.
  2. Choose Can view titles and locations from the permissions.
  3. Click Share.

An email will be sent to that email with a link that will allow the user to subscribe to your schedule. If they pass that link on to someone else, the other users will also see your schedule.

When you receive the email in your Gmail do not click on the Add this calendar button (this will prompt you to login to Outlook). Instead, click on the attached file (don’t download or add to your drive) for a preview of it’s contents. At the bottom you’ll find a link that starts with https and ends with .ics.

Copy the link and go to your Google Calendar. From the Other calendars list on the right, select Add by URL and paste in the link.

Your work calendar, with details, will now appear in Google Calendar under other calendars. You can use the settings to change the name and other preferences.

3. Add your personal Google Calendar to Outlook

Rather than repeat what’s already available, check out this handy tutorial from Microsoft:

Trevor Beck is a tech enthusiast whose training expands everything Mac, Google and is slowly making his way back to Microsoft.