Cloud Storage and the New Google Drive for Teams (Google Drive File Stream)

Bob Babcock Things that Might Ignite You Leave a Comment

Cloud storage is no longer an idea and luckily, it just gets better and better. GDPR and HIPAA, privacy in general, security, encryption and so on are all on the minds of those that build cloud storage systems and those that use them. Today however, most cloud provides are meeting or exceeding these standards. That said, would you ever push a document called “passwords” into the cloud? I hope not. Regardless of any concerns or issues, cloud storage does great things and lately, we’ve become quite fond of the new and improved Google Drive for Business or is it Teams or Drive File Stream? All the above…for our purposes, we’ll call it Google Drive Team.

If you use cloud storage, you probably know of Google Drive. It’s a odd competitor to Dropbox and the gang as it stores files in similar fashion, but it also allows you to use G Suite Apps to write, calculate and present, and that’s just the beginning. The collaboration aspects of Google Drive and Apps make it a winner in our minds. It’s also from Google, which may mean we question it’s simplicity and transparency with it’s terms of use and the mechanics. Google has been known to make things tough, all in and around.

I’ve never been a huge supporter of “all things Google” as they are often complex and obscure, but as Google Drive and G Suite and the related apps have grown, I’ve become more interested. Again, collaboration is paramount to my new found affinity for Google. Beyond that, I have always chosen G Suite or “gmail” over the Microsoft side of things. It just works with more stuff in the cloud and you typically see “Login with Google” everywhere. Why? Because Gmail was born in the cloud and has no deep roots in servers or apps, like our friends at Microsoft.  I mean seriously, try explaining Outlook as the client, Exchange as the server, OWA for the online access, and then there’s this new thing called Office365. But all Office365 really is…a Gmail competitor. Tough work for Microsoft as they had to keep their users going, while reinventing the wheel. It was a difficult and time consuming transition from Microsoft server based Exchange to Exchange in the Cloud or Office365. So using Gmail and then Google Apps for Work (which became G Suite) and now there is G Suite for Business aka “Google Drive Team”, the upgraded version, just works better, IMHO.

But now, with Google Drive Team, this is where things change. First, let’s talk about Google Drive. This solution, as mentioned, stores files and enables you to use Google Apps and related apps natively from the web or on devices. The Drive sync app worked, most of the time. Later came Google Backup and Sync and it worked even better. The key here is “sync” and when Google Drive is syncing it is copying files to and from the cloud and all your devices. To be clear, the files reside in the cloud AND on your devices. Each time you make a change, it updates up, down, over and wherever else it needs to. Machines get warm, fans start running, drives become full and bandwidth is eaten. It works and it won’t be going away just yet.

Dropbox, Box, One Drive and others do the same.

But now, we have Google Drive File Stream, which is a mouthful, but it explains the difference. The files “stream.” In clearer words, they are in the cloud and only load locally when called upon and then are stored back in the cloud. They are NOT on your hard disk locally, well, not completely anyhow. They are cached, meaning they are “represented” locally for better performance. The files are in the cloud and while you can keep a portion offline locally, that’s not the design here. If you want that, use Drive with Backup and Sync, not Google Drive File Stream.

To make it more interesting, G Suite for Business offers more storage, unlimited really, more control, features and my favorite…TEAMS! With Google Drive Team folders, you can control who accesses what, how, why, when and with ease. It’s the best I’ve used yet and adding to that all the features that regular old Google Drive and G Suite offer, plus all the drivespace saved and the bandwidth managed, this is the future and it’s here now.

Warning: if you upgrade to G Suite for Business, be patient. Some files (in particular Adobe CC types) are sluggish in the initial upload/sync. I’ll let you know if this continues. Rumours are that it will be a bit of time before a perfect Google File Stream is upon us, but for now, I’m really happy with it.

Confused? Think about a desk. You open a drawer, take out a file, put it back when done. That’s what Google does with Drive File Stream. It opens the drawer (in the cloud), opens the file (in the cloud) and puts it back (in the cloud) when done. Get it?

One more thing…we don’t love how hard it is to use Google Drive to request files or have a shared folder for clients. We’re working on that and we’ll get back to you Sharefile and Smartvault users soon!

Let us know what you think below…

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