Google replaces Backup and Sync with Drive for Desktop

Google Drive displayed on a smartphone in front of a multi-coloured umbrella
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Google has announced plans to move users from its Backup and Sync file-syncing services to a new unified desktop app for Drive.

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Onboarding for the Drive for Desktop app will start on 19 July, with Google recommending users make the switch by the end of September before they're locked out on 1 October.

The transition is just for Backup and Sync users, however, as business clients who are already using Drive File Stream - the enterprise name for Drive for Desktops - should already be set up.

The aim of moving to a unified desktop app is to create "a powerful and unified sync client", according to Google, with the best features from both consumer and enterprise services that should be more straightforward to use and easier for IT teams to manage.

In a blog post, Google suggests the new app will be pretty familiar to anyone who used its previous file-syncing services. Drive for Desktop will offer easy access to files and photos stored in the cloud, and will sync files in the background to keep them up to date.

Google also suggests the app can sync external storage devices like flash drives to Drive, mirror files between Drive and local files on a desktop computer, and let users choose whether they store individual photos and videos in Drive or Google Photos.


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The launch of Drive for Desktop coincided with a few announcements from the tech giant, which included changes to services that helped many through the pandemic. In April 2020, for example, Google Meet was made available to all users with day-long group calls, but that has been switched to an hour as of 1 July. As such, free Gmail users will now have to make do with calls with three or more participants at a limit of 60 minutes.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.