back to article Google killed desktop Drive and replaced it with two apps. Now it’s killing those, and Drive for desktop is returning

Users of Google’s desktop cloud storage app Backup and Sync have 80 days to switch to a new client – Drive for desktop – to sync data into the G-Cloud. The ad giant on Monday announced the realization of a plan to replace its two desktop sync clients – Backup and Sync, and Drive File Stream – with a single new client named …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Dancing to someone else's tune

    It's great that someone offers a free product with useful functionality.

    It's less great when that someone is an Internet behemoth that changes its mind on a whim. Disruptive is meant to improve the user experience, not destroy it.

    Killing Drive and then ressurecting it to kill its successors demonstrates that nobody thought the whole thing through in the first place.

    Google should test its products internally more thoroughly before offering them to the public, and then throwing everything away. Again.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: Dancing to someone else's tune

      But that wouldnt be disurptive, and agile, and innovative, and whatever other bullsh&t bingo words you want to throw in the mix!

      It's just another reminder that The Cloud is just someone else's computer. And if they decide to change the rules around using their computer, then you either have to suck it up and accept it, or to try and pull back in all your data yourself. Neither of which is usually an easy or pleasant experience...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Google should test its products internally more thoroughly before offering them to the public"

      Why? That is not Google main business. These are side-products used to keep people inside the Google system so they can feed Google's main business.

      And because when something is free you're the product, actually Google is testing is products thoroughly - peopleproducts still use Google so they work, actually.

    3. Wellyboot Silver badge

      Re: Dancing to someone else's tune

      I'd agree, testing internally as a first step is a given but even that runs the risk of being told "It positively aids growth and should be applied" instead of "It's manure, bury it"

      Two of the oldest business maxims are "The customer is always right"1 and "Keep it simple"2, so therefore having a single remote storage product everyone seemed quite happy with pretty much nailed it.

      Any bets that the first design was engineering led before marketing rolled up with the now binned multiple product approach?

      1 Even when you think they're batsh*t crazy

      2 Because everyone likes "simple" in whatever is secondary to their main activity

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Dancing to someone else's tune

        Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right.

        Firing customers who are a more of a pain in the ass than they are worth is one of the truly great joys of being self employed.

        About three times per year, or thereabouts, I quite literally use the phrase "you're fired" to a client of mine, or of the wife[0]. Frankly, I quite enjoy it. The look on their face when they realize I am dead serious is priceless.

        It can work in BigBidnez, too ... All you have to do is make a business case for it ... show that the customer is costing more than they are paying. The costs can include employee downtime due to frustration, time to get back into the swing of things after dealing with said customer, time OTHER customers are on hold while dealing with said customer, etc.

        [0] She's a softy, so I draw this detail by default.

    4. GBE

      Re: Dancing to someone else's tune

      Killing Drive and then ressurecting it to kill its successors demonstrates that nobody thought the whole thing through in the first place.

      Well, you've got to give them credit for admitting the mistake and fixing it. I can think of a few other large corporations that would never have done that. Instead, they would have closed their eyes, put their fingers in their ears, and trudged on down the wrong road for the next 30 years (dragging the rest of us with them).

      1. willum0806

        Re: Dancing to someone else's tune

        Well, you've got to give them credit for admitting the mistake and fixing it. I can think of a few other large corporations that would never have done that. Instead, they would have closed their eyes, put their fingers in their ears, and trudged on down the wrong road for the next 30 years (dragging the rest of us with them).

        ....Like Microshaft ??

    5. hoola Silver badge

      Re: Dancing to someone else's tune

      There was some update a while back, maybe it was a beta of the new thing but I was setting up a new device and took the latest installer for syncing a Google Drive with a folder on Windows.

      What then followed was a ridiculous fight to stop it hijacking anything that was plugged in and "backing it up" to Google Drive. This then filled up the pitiful 15GB that is already 80% full of Google/Android shite at which point they then hassled you to buy more space.

      I think I installed an old version and it has sat quite happily since. Who knows where this will go but I surmise it will probably be a pain in the arse.

      So much now just assumes that everything you do should be saved in "the cloud" because it is secure and available anywhere. The fact that it can still be deleted, has no backup is missed by 99% of the users.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dancing to someone else's tune

        How is 15GB pitiful when it’s totally free? People have become illogically entitled to “free shit” these days.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Dancing to someone else's tune

          Well, when you consider that you can purchase 64GB of USB 3.0 for under 8 (eight) bucks, keep it under control in your pocket, and never need a network to access it, then your 15G that is held gawd/ess knows where, that you don't own or control, and which requires network access ... well, it looks positively pitiful and somewhat laughable in comparison, doesn't it?

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: Dancing to someone else's tune

          It's not free. It makes you (more) beholden to alphagoo.

          Instead, get a cheap thumb drive. Only logical, innit.

        3. hoola Silver badge

          Re: Dancing to someone else's tune

          It is not pitiful until automated processes fill it with crap that you don't want saved there. Plugging in a device with 128GB of storage to then have the automated tool try and "back it up" to the 15GB space is not intelligent.

          I have no issue with paying for storage and deciding what I want to put into it.

        4. pamidic

          Re: Dancing to someone else's tune

          It's not 'free'. Google don't do free. What's your data worth? 15GB, or would that be a paltry trade? I think the latter.

  2. illiad

    how do you talk to google???

    you can try, but.....

    1. YetAnotherLocksmith

      Re: how do you talk to google???

      Just shout "Ok, google" in any of 3 bazillion households?

      Whether the reply is any use, though, is another matter entirely.

  3. Khaptain Silver badge

    "It's just another reminder that The Cloud is just someone else's computer."

    I quite like that interpretation, I will jot it down into my little black book of justifications for not pushing everything over to the cloud.. As funny as it is , it is 100% correct.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      In that case you might want to get the T-shirt.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Hopefully noting the irony of purchasing a T mocking the Cloud concept from cloud-based AliExpress --- Instead, perhaps ask your local Tshirt printer to knock you out a couple dozen shirts and flog the excess inventory to your friends on fleabay.

  4. John Robson Silver badge


    Can you run two instances for different accounts, one of the benefits of split clients…

    1. carl0s

      Re: But…

      Well, supposedly one of the new features of version 49 - from yesterday, is that you can be signed in to up to 4 accounts at the same time. There's an asterisk against that feature saying you can only do that if Backup and Sync is turned on for the account (which one? Both, all four, etc?).

      Try as I might, I could not figure out, after two hours today, why this guy I had to help, who has Macbook (that I don't support / work with, and I didn't set him up or his Google Apps/Workspace either.. just got lumbered with helping him), why the option to sign in to another account wasn't there. He says that before this, he could at least click 'switch account' or something.

      Anyway after a couple of hours of faffing about and comparing Workspace admin settings between the two organisations, and getting nowhere, I found a comment on Reddit from some randomer stating that the multiple accounts feature, on Mac OS, only works on ARM (M1 CPU), not Intel Macs.

      Not a word from Google on it. Nice waste of a couple of hours.

      1. Steven 11

        Re: But…

        I think this will cause an issue for lots of people. I have both apps - B&S for personal GDrive and the new app GD for our corporate Google Drive. It works ok. However - like your user, my new app does not have the option to add my personal account either (contrary to screen shots I've seen where this is an option). I have a suspicion its been disabled by our Google Admins, and perhaps not the ARM / Intel issue you are seeing?

        1. carl0s

          Re: But…

          I was given admin access to both orgs, and tried signing into either org first, checked Drive service enablement (b&s, dfs, d4d etc), no joy. The person on Reddit said that they are a Mac outfit and of their team of users, every Intel one didn't have the option, and every M1 user did.

  5. Paul Herber Silver badge

    'Google is infamous for killing products swiftly and without mercy. Resurrecting them because the initial culling didn’t work well is a new one though. Innovative.'

    I think this is the most innovative business process to come out of Silicon Valley for a generation!

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      You aren't even joking.

      Silly Valley has shot itself in the foot so many times in my lifetime I have no idea how they stay alive without all the really stupid investors.

  6. demon driver

    3rd party sync tools

    If we have to use Google Drive for whatever reason (I still do because there are one or two Android apps I rely on which don't cooperate as easily with Nextcloud), some third-party sync tools are a potential alternative to succumbing to Google's whims. Personally, I've been using Insync (the headless version for Linux servers) which is not free, but good, for some time now and I don't even notice that it's there, it just works. Better still, it converts Google Docs files to Open Document (or MS) formats and back, on the fly, transparently...

    That said, succumbing to a third party vendor's whims isn't necessarily better, either. Insync had announced to discontinue their headless version some time ago, before they decided after all they wouldn't.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google - great at search...

    But largely shit at everything else.

    1. lglethal Silver badge

      Re: Google - great at search...

      Oh No! Google are brilliant at convincing Marketing Departments to pay signifcantly more for "targeted" advertising thats been shown to be significantly less worthwhile than simple untargeted ads. Actually internet ads in general have been found to be pretty much worthless, but google have convinced Marketing Departments everywhere that they are the bees knees, and worth every penny (that they can squeeze out of them)!

      Google are brilliant at the ad stuff. Everything else is unimportant (to Google)...

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Google - great at search...

      They're pretty good at gathering vast amounts of data on a large proportion of the world's population too!

      1. Julz

        Re: Google - great at search...

        It's the same skill set...

    4. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Google - great at search...

      Their maps are pretty good also -- when they aren't broken. (But Open Street Map is Much faster).

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Google - great at search...

        And far, FAR better looking and useful!

    5. Graham 32

      Re: Google - great at search...

      Google sucks less than Microsoft.

      As someone who works at a former Google shop which was acquired by a MS shop, I miss the Google apps.

    6. jake Silver badge

      Shit at search, too. (Was: Google - great at search...)

      I did a google search on my real name about four months ago. Eight of the top twenty hits were companies offering to sell me to myself, all at the lowest prices possible. One bragged about being the only outfit selling GENUINE US MADE jakes![0] WOW! I must get me one!

      The other dozen hits were offering re-packaged publically available info to anyone interested in tracking me down, for a price. Page three, four and five were more of the same, at which point I gave up.

      Curiously, none of them were professionally published papers which I wrote or participated in over the years, all of which are available online. In fact, near as I can tell none of it could actually be traced to me at all ... and my real name isn't exactly common.

      I just repeated the search of four months ago. Same results.

      Google search is useless. Absofuckinglutely useless.

      [0] Strangely, they didn't tell me how much extra it was costing me to have me manufactured in the US, then shipped to China, and then shipped back to me here in the US ...

      1. The Unexpected Bill
        Thumb Down

        Re: Shit at search, too. (Was: Google - great at search...)

        Indeed, their search used to be second-to-nobody.

        I've noticed (at least) two things, one fairly recently and the other that's been going on for a while. The more recent change is the inclusion of "nearby" words (similar meaning, usage, etc.) in your query. I see why in a broad sense that this could be useful to someone, somewhere, but for me it's just infuriating because it works so poorly (at least it does in my usage case).

        Sometimes when you're going for a web search, you're already teeing up for that long drive down the fairway of hopelessness. It's even less helpful when Google starts dropping words or entire phrases from your query and offers links you can click to include them again. If it's not there using the search terms as entered...just tell me!

        (Yes, I know you can force strings to be included in your query. I find that goes from "not specific enough" to "too specific" almost instantly. Google Searches used to work far better as "divining rods" of sorts if you were close but not quite sure of or accurate about something in your query.)

        I dunno...maybe I haven't kept up with the times and I need to relearn searching the web. Every now and then I try the other major search engines and find them even worse soon enough.

      2. hoola Silver badge

        Re: Shit at search, too. (Was: Google - great at search...)

        The automated inclusion of results on loosely similar search terms just completely stuffs everything up. Then add the fact that so many are "sponsored" results you end up with increasingly useless results.

        That so many results are for doohickys that you don't want to buy, unrelated to your actual search and are in fact tat for sale on Amazon (but are always out of stock because it is an old advert to suck you in).

        Then the sites that auto-generate links based on the search to take you to a whole world of junk. These should not be allowed....

        Add to that there there is so much rubbish now that posted by people with no thought.

        Someone posts a question about some technical issue:

        A load of responses:

        "I had that problem too"

        "I had that problem and fixed it.... (nothing more)"

        "Reinstall Windows"

        "Try this "<insert unrelated Powershell command>"

        And such rubbish.

    7. Jed T

      Re: Google - great at search...

      They are not bad at marketing

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Google - great at search...

        They are not bad at marketing to other marketards who have drunk the Kool-Aid.


  8. foxyshadis

    Riding into the sunset

    I always love how these sunset dates are firm and absolute -- backup is going away October 1, come hell or high water. But promise for the porting of the canceled features to its replacement? "Oh, you know, soonish, maybe. By December 31, for sure. Pinkie swear. Maybe."

  9. Spanners Silver badge

    Is this

    Is this the thing that actually makes your Google drive show up as a letter again?

    How soon will it be before Microsoft follows suit and then Apple "invents" the idea?

  10. Allonymous Coward


    I run a VM on my NAS to sync photos with Google (I’m not dumb enough to *store* them there - it’s just a useful service for publishing & sharing). That runs Backup & Sync; guess I have to update it now. How boring.

  11. Plest Silver badge

    Legacy tech baggage is now no longer an issue!

    It's a ploy to never be caught with legacy tech baggage, just keep changing things every 24 months and then when you bring something back you can fix all the bugs and claim it's a "new, state of the art thingy" and everyone will simply have to do what they're told!

    1. Psmo
      Big Brother

      Re: Legacy tech baggage is now no longer an issue!

      Also allows them to redo the terms and conditions to keep those pesky 'rights' under control.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Legacy tech baggage is now no longer an issue!

        Rights? What rights?

        Have you not read the fine print? You have no rights in the Cloud. It's not your computer. (Not even provisionally, kinda, if you squint like your Cupertino and Redmond powered boxes.)

  12. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I guess it will be Windows and MacOS and ChromeOS only again, and still no Linux version?

    Rclone works fine for syncing to Google Drive from Linux, but its not straight forward to setup like the official Windows/Mac client software. So Rclone is not good for none technical people if you are trying to get them to switch to Linux.

  13. anthonyhegedus

    BLoody software companies keep doing this. I'm still confused about the last change! Same with google hangouts and google duo - what's that all about? And there's a new one I think.

    And then there's Microsoft: Do consumers use Teams or Skype? And then there's that camera icon that appears on some windows installations.

  14. lnLog

    multiple logins?

    That's nice, but will it support multiple logins / instances?

  15. ecofeco Silver badge

    I never get tired of saying it

    So... how's that cloud thing working for ya?

  16. RLWatkins

    About that "guided flow"....

    I like it. The name sounds modern, even cutting edge. Kind of like "synergy" or "cloud malware", I have a lot of trouble deciding exactly WTF it is they're actually describing. But by damn', it sounds cool. I'll just bet that nobody can do without it.

    Seriously, about the only use I have for products such as Google Drive is a place to park friends' photos so they don't have to pay for the Web space to store them. Aside from that, mostly their "productivity"-related offerings serve as a stop-gap until people can set up real mail servers, NAS, etc.

    They're OK, they work well enough, but the continuous state of flux in which they exist costs them a few bonus points.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: About that "guided flow"....

      Instead of partaking in alphagoo's world takover bid, why not place those photos on a cheap&cheerful thumb drive and store it in a pocket? For important photos, put a second copy in your safety deposit box, and mail a third set to your Great Aunt in Duluth for safekeeping, and (for the folks working on being very paranoid) a fourth set to your Sister in Burgundy and a fifth to your Brother in Australia.

  17. K Cartlidge

    Whenever I read about Google killing something off ...

    Whenever I read about Google killing something off, what strikes me isn't the death of a service/product - after all it's theirs, probably free, and they can do what they want with it. The thing that catches my attention is how long you get to mitigate the fallout.

    These days I don't bother ranting about it, as Steve Yegge put it quite well (keep reading past the anecdote):

  18. W.S.Gosset

    "Google is infamous for killing products swiftly and without mercy."

    I still really miss Google Desktop Search.

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