Getting Started With Google Drive File Stream

Getting Started With Google Drive File Stream

What is FileSteam?

We’re pleased to announce Drive File Stream, a new application for your Mac. Use Drive File Stream to access all your Google Drive files from your computer while using less disk space and decreasing sync time.

With Drive File Stream, you can:

  • Quickly see all your Google Drive files in Finder (including Team Drives!).
  • Browse and organize Google Drive files without downloading all of them to your computer.
  • Choose which files or folders you’d like to make available offline.
  • Open files in common apps like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.

What took so long to approve it?

The technology team’s philosophy is to try and get the best tools out to staff as quickly as possible. As such, we’re sorry that it has taken this long to approve and deploy Drive File Stream. In full transparency, here is what we were working through.

  • Behind the scenes, File Stream modifies the core of your computers operating system in a way that Apple has previously indicated they may prevent in the future. We have been working with Apple to get additional clarification on this and are now comfortable that they won’t discontinue support in the immediate future.
  • Google has split their sync products into a consumer and institution (business and education) products. File Stream is the product recommended for us. However, it does NOT include support for Google Photos – that is only in the consumer product. We did a careful evaluation about using the product recommended for us vs using their consumer level app. The consumer app does not support Team Drives which are our recommended way for teams and groups to collaborate. Because of that we made the decision to use File Stream.

What do I need to be careful of?

• Unlike the previous Google Drive Sync application, by default, FileStream does NOT download copies of your files to your computer for offline access. It instead downloads on demand when you launch a file (aka ‘streams’ them). This means that if you are without internet and haven’t recently accessed a file you WILL NOT be able to open it.

Fortunately, you can mark files for offline access. To do so, control+click (right click) a file or folder and go to Drive File Stream->Available offline. That will keep a local copy stored on your computer for offline access.

• Related, when you open a file for the first time, it needs to download it from the internet. This could appear like your computer is frozen if the file is large or the internet connection is slow. For example, when opening a large Keynote or Pages file, the application will open first and then nothing will appear until the file is downloaded. This is normal. You will need to be patient until the file is downloaded. At that time the document will appear.

• When running, File Stream will show up as an icon on your desktop, as well as a location under the ‘Devices’ heading in a Finder window. Dragging the blue Google Drive icon to the trash or ejecting the Google Drive folder under devices will turn of FileStream and you won’t have access to your files until you re-open File Stream from your applications folder.

• File Stream does NOT support Google Photo’s Uploading tool. If you use Google photos, you will need to upload them using the Google Photo’s website.

As always, please be considerate of others as you add/delete files from your Google Drive. You may be just trying to clean up a Team Drive or a Drive folder, but if it is shared with others you may also be deleting the files from THEIR computer! Think before you delete!

Other Known Technical Issues (as of 5/2018):

  • You can’t currently duplicate Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
  • If you have edit access for a Team Drive (or any files shared within a Team Drive), you can currently only view these files in Drive File Stream. To edit the files, you must access them in Drive on the web.

How do I install it?

To install Drive FileStream, open up Self-Service on your Mac. You’ll see it listed under the ‘Featured’ category. Once you have run the installer, you may need to open your Application folder and launch it. You will be prompted to sign in with your Westside Google account to begin syncing.