back to article Google to kill its Drive file locker in two confusing ways

Google is killing its “Drive” sync 'n' share file locker in two ways. For users of Google's G Suite customers, death will come in the form of a new desktop application called “Drive File Stream” that does pretty much everything Drive does now, but which Google says “allows you to quickly access all of your Google Drive files …


  1. chivo243 Silver badge


    Where have I heard before? Can't quite put my finger on it.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      Re: DFS?

      Most of the time you'll be able to get your data at half price or less, as a limited time offer ;-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DFS?

      Disk Filiing System - what you got to use when you added a massive 100K floppy to a BBC micro!

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: DFS?

        "Disk Filiing System"

        Damn sans serif fonts - I read that as Disk Filling System. I've seen a few of those in my time.

        1. 404 Silver badge

          Re: DFS?

          Like any MS Exchange server? bwaaaahahahahahahaha...

      2. Paul Westerman

        Re: DFS?

        Yes just had a disappointing result searching for Watford DFS :(

  2. Blotto Bronze badge
    Paris Hilton

    So what's in store for us non gsuite google drive users?

    Is it still 15GB free usage?

    Does backup and sync have new better features?

    I'm just learning about this now, would be good for el reg to have a proper right up about it.

    I'm going to have to google it now.



    Now googled, I realise this article is like an advert selling the change. There will be no simple folder you dump stuff in, now you tell it which folders to sync which I guess are then viewable in the cloud, no idea how or if it copies that data to your other machine, how will it cope if the parent of the source folder does not exist on your other machine?

    This will have big ramifications for some. I have scanners that automatically save to google drive, how will this work in future?

    1. Lysenko


      I transitioned from GDrive to Yandex about 6 months ago. No complaints - and the Windows sync app is less of a CPU hog.

      My main motivation was that I'm a lot happier with the SVR/FSB snooping my files than the NSA/FBI, but getting 42Gb free for life was a bonus (that's not standard: 10Gb is the basic free quota, but they run various promotions from time to time which is how I got the additional 32Gb). Oh, and I'm not Russian - just like I wasn't American when I used Google.

      1. Chris King Silver badge

        Re: Yandex

        "... getting 42Gb free for life was a bonus"

        When it comes to free stuff, "life" can have many different definitions:

        (1) What they imply: Your life. Yeah, right ;

        (2) What they really mean: Meh, we'll can it when we can't be bothered any more ;

        (3) If you're really lucky: As long as we keep the VC cash rolling in.

        Mind you, paying for a service doesn't always mean you get treated any better. See the publication date on that article ? THAT's the day Nuance announced that he Paperport Anywhere service was shutting down - and most PaperPort users only found out by e-mail the following day.

        That's right kids, most folks got less than two weeks' notice to find a new cloud provider and move their stuff - no alternative service, no backup plan, nothing. "We'd like to help you, but we're a bit tired right now" is the most charitable way I could describe that situation.

        imagine going off for two weeks holiday on Friday the 15th, and coming back to that on Monday March 4th - all your docs in the cloud have evaporated, with no hope of recovery because the storage has already been re-purposed for another customer.

        Enjoy the freebies while you can, but always make sure you've got a Plan "B" in case someone pulls the plug. At the end of the day, you're just a guest on someone else's computer.

        1. Lysenko

          Re: Yandex

          Obviously "life" is a flexible concept in this area, I was using the term in the same sense that competitors (OneDrive, DropBox et. al.) do. Yandex have a better record than Google when it comes to abrupt product/service discontinuation though.

          I maintain a NextCloud instance mirrored to local NAS for things I'm really concerned about (I don't use it for everything because going above 20Gb SSD on that server would double the cost of the VM).

          1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

            Re: Abrupt cancellation of services.

            Google don't abruptly cancel old software/services. Just like Microsoft, they give years of advanced warning... by buying/adopting the service in the first place!

      2. Not That Andrew

        Re: Yandex

        So instead of the NSA rifling through your files you have the FSB. I'm not sure if that is an improvement

        1. Lysenko

          Re: Yandex

          When is the last time the Russian government dragged British citizens through the courts using an outrageously unbalanced extradition treaty or else grabbed a British security researcher at an airport charged with notionally breaking Russian law from his home in the UK? That's right. Never. I'm damn sure FSB snooping is a big improvement.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yandex

            I don't know, as I prefer lengthy extradition as opposed to poison umbrella stabs to the leg, or heavy metal polonium poisoning. Of course, that's *really* Hollywood movie plot conjecture....

          2. LDS Silver badge

            'When is the last time the Russian government'

            They simply poison people abroad, when needed.... but it is true, they protect their cybercriminals, they are always useful...

      3. Zakhar

        Re: Yandex

        And it has an official Linux client... which Google never bother develop (although there were some initiatives from the "community").

    2. Michael Kean

      You still have the original "Google Drive" capability that you had before, so that shoudn't be a problem for you.

      The only new feature is the ability to select random folders on your computer to have backed up on your Google storage space - not as part of Drive, but as a traditional backup feature. (Some versioning available, but I think the restore of older versions is from the web interface only.)

      Will be handy for some customers since Code42 has decided to murder CrashPlan for residential users.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      There will be no simple folder you dump stuff in, now you tell it which folders to sync

      I fucking hate that system.

      1. K.o.R


        That's interesting, the biggest problem I have with all the sync apps is that you have to move everything into their one special folder rather than being able to grab any folder.

      2. CRConrad

        What's to "hate"?!?

        If you just do nothing(*), then a specify-folders system with only one single folder specified must work exactly like a single-folder system, mustn't it?


        (*) Nothing, besides possibly re-specifying your single sync folder in the new app.

      3. DJ Smiley

        Because creating a folder on your C:\ called backups, and dumping everything in it as you did before, is too hard?

    4. CRConrad

      What's so complicated?

      "Blotto" complains:There will be no simple folder you dump stuff in, now you tell it which folders to sync which I guess are then viewable in the cloud, no idea how or if it copies that data to your other machine, how will it cope...What is it that you don't get, and how can you not get it?

      If you're upset that you'll have to specify which directories to back up and want to keep the simplicity of a "simple folder you dump stuff in"... What's to stop you from not specifying any other folders, and keep dumping stuff in that single one?

  3. Dwarf Silver badge

    Clouding the situation

    Just what everyone needs - more confusion on exactly where the data lives and when and what sort of data fits today's valid file type sieve.

    Or is this an admission that the great cloudy thing isn't working out in practice the way that the marketing people thought it would, since little details like the technicalities make it something quite different.

    Next up - more fun trying to explain to users where their data is at any given time and why its not where they thought they put it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Clouding the situation

      "Next up - more fun trying to explain to users where their data is at any given time and why its not where they thought they put it."

      ... perhaps they need to start running Silicon Valley style consumer education classes to expalin to uses why they still have all their photos but aren't using any storage on their phones.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Clouding the situation

        Ah but they DON'T have their photos. Google does.

        And contrary to common fantasy, nobody is really connected 24/7. There are just as many dead zones in the city as in the country. Then what do you do? Oh right, yer fucked.

        1. DavidRa

          Re: Clouding the situation

          Gosh, whatever do you mean? All us Silicon Valley developers have permanent gigabit fiber to the desktop and unlimited 4G for our phones, therefore everyone has the same experience as us.

          In our minds the only places with poor connectivity exist in our nightmares.

          1. Barry Rueger Silver badge

            Re: Clouding the situation

            Up vote. It's abundantly obvious that far too many developers have utterly no real world life experience, which is why so many products are only usable in specific ideal circumstances.

            For instance, any service that assumes unlimited data on mobile is useless to much of Canada because of the incredibly stingy and expensive data allowances.

  4. The Eee 701 Paddock

    What about Chrome OS?

    Firstly: it looks as if the recently-added auto folder-backup feature is staying, which I'm happy about as that's actually useful...

    I'm still a bit confused from this, over whether Google Drive (as in "your drive in the 'cloud'") is staying available. For me, this matters, as I have an Asus Chromebit CS10 (a "stick PC" running Chrome OS), and am eyeing up an Asus Chromebook Flip.

    Chrome OS' file storage is focused on integration with Google Drive (yes, COS can mount local mass-storage devices and certain other network filesystems, but GD is the primary file-storage location), so I don't quite see how Google could phase out the files/folders "area" of GD without a remodelling of Chrome OS' file-management interface. Hopefully, that's not what they're looking to do.

    1. Edward Green

      Re: What about Chrome OS?

      It's going no-where.

      Google has updated its PC sync solutions, and confused everyone in the way it is doing i

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about Chrome OS?

        It's only confused brain-dead cretins (including the author)

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: What about Chrome OS?

      Chrome? The only use I've found for Chrome is that it runs faster than the native browser on my phone.

      That's about it.

    3. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: What about Chrome OS?

      I'm still a bit confused from this, over whether Google Drive (as in "your drive in the 'cloud'") is staying available

      The same applies to all those schools who have invested in truckloads of Chromebooks. Can't see Google dumping them. Not immediately anyway.


  5. BazzF

    what with Dropcocks ending their super-easy Public folder thing (handy for quickly sharing pix of...err...stuff) which broke millions of forums posts, and Crashplan abandoning the home users, it looks like the cloudies are having....issues.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Cloud storage? Issues?


  6. Tezfair

    Cloud providers are becoming like drug dealers

    You had your freebie now cough up

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Cloud providers are becoming like drug dealers


    2. Tomato42 Silver badge

      Re: Cloud providers are becoming like drug dealers

      That's true for people using free tiers.

      But they're changing how the business tier works too. Google simply is not a reliable provider. At least, not when you want to anything but buy ads.

    3. Dr Mantis Toboggan

      Re: Cloud providers are becoming like drug dealers

      Errm, nothing has changed the cost is the same as before. Do you need help explaining? Do you have a helper or grownup that can explain things?

  7. katrinab Silver badge

    What will people make of this?

    Don't design your systems and workflows around Google products because they are liable to be terminated in the future. Also applies to other cloud services.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: What will people make of this?

      Extend that to 'around any free service'.

      In fact I'd be wary about a design built around any single proprietary system. AWS is good for storing lots of encrypted cloudy backups, and isn't expensive, but will they go and change things at short notice?

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: What will people make of this?

        Not all Google services are free, and they are just as likely to pull support for paid services. That's probably why most people take their money elsewhere.

    2. Chris King Silver badge

      Re: What will people make of this?

      I tend to use the phrase "permanent beta" for Google services.

      Remember Google Wave ? I remember lots of folks raving about that when it came out - the product Google loved SO much, they couldn't even be bothered to spell-check the closedown notice...

      I've still got the e-mail that says "Google Wage is closing down".

    3. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: What will people make of this?

      I was about to add the same sentiment. Google are forever creating things, letting people rely on them and then fucking them over. I fail to see why anyone would bother with their shite.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: What will people make of this?

        "Google are forever creating things, letting people rely on them and then fucking them over."

        If only I could upvote this a million times.

        The galling thing is that Google doesn't even appear to have the decency to dump its abandoned apps that people actually used onto GitHub or the like.

        For example "My Tracks" was something I used to use while walking around large boot sales held in towns ("vide grenier" if you know anything of France). It used to be useful for overlaying a chart of where I've been on top of the road layout with my current position so I could tell easily where I have and haven't been (in the spaghetti road systems in the middle of towns, this sort of thing is useful). But no, Google went and killed it off in favour of "Google Fit", as if the only reason somebody might want to track their progress is in order to count calories. Thanks a lot. I'm now using Ilya Bogdanovich's Geo Tracker which does exactly what I wanted.

        I expect Google Goggles to be killed off next. It was a good idea, and there's such interactivity that could be built into a program such as that (beyond it being "a quick way to read QR codes"), but it doesn't work any more on modern devices (Samsung S7, Android 7) and looking at the app info, it was last updated on the 28th of May 2014. I'm guessing this should now be thought of as pre-slaughtered abandonware...?

        1. Barry Rueger Silver badge

          Re: What will people make of this?

          Second vote for Geo Tracker. I have to wonder just how much it would have cost Google to keep My Tracks alive.

    4. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: What will people make of this?

      They've gone Microsoft on us.

  8. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    derp durr make it more of a hassle and people will switch over to simpler services.

  9. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    "allows you to quickly access all of your Google Drive files on demand, directly from your computer, meaning you use almost none of your hard drive space and spend less time waiting for files to sync."

    1) hard drive space is cheap

    2) For many people upload and download speed for cloud connections is not instant (no fibre, I get about 800kbps upload, 10Mbps down). Fine for a small file on a fast connection, but... Just been downloading 750MB of images from Dropbox that a client wants processing. It was not instant. Uploading them again will take a couple of hours. I'll stick to working locally and keeping backups.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Hard drive space isn't cheap everywhere - some small laptops (or tablets, of phones) may have far smaller disks than big desktop systems. Being able to select what to "pin" locally and what to access on demand is useful.

      Download/upload speeds are an issue, but as long as you have a choice of what is cached locally, it's not really a big issue.

      It's interesting that while MS with One Drive is still messing with "placeholders", Google implements the same feature.

      1. Edward Green

        I have 256gb SSD. I have to manage Drive carefully to make sure what I need is sync'd and what I don't is not! I don't consider a bigger M2 SSD cheap - but then as a professional I manage my own IT budget.


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