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.

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