Should I install Google Drive File Stream on my Mac?

In my work is it becoming more and more critical for me to use Google Drive. I have GSuite set up for my organization. People share all kinds of things with me through Google Drive and I need to be able to access this quickly and easily. I’m thinking of installing the Google Drive File Stream so I can access things in my Google Drive without needing to go through the browser. Those of you that have installed this, what are your thoughts? Does it work similar to the DropBox app that creates a folder on your hard drive and syncs things? That’s what I’m hoping, but I know there are security concerns too.

In theory somewhat similar to Dropbox.

Differences are: (1) by default no files are stored on your computer, and (2) the syncing / file management process is much, much, much slower.

Re #1, you can right click on files or folders and choose to have them stored offline, i.e. on your computer.

Re #2, compared to Dropbox, iCloud and OneDrive, File Stream is much slower. I have fought with this for the past few years and have been very frustrated. Once I came to the understanding that Google wants you to use your browser, and they want you to search not browse, than the experience is pretty good.

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I have used it for a couple of years for work. I am an elementary school principal and Google drive is what we use for our own docs and to share. I have found it to be very reliable and it sinks fast enough for my needs. I have had to reinstall it a couple of times though.

I use CloudMounter. It follows a comparable approach. I am not happy with the delay to make changes in such things as moving / deleting files. I also caught myself opening a file on my local Google Drive folder (that I had not deleted) yet not seeing the changes propagate to the CloudMounter folder. I had to re-sync using Google Backup and Sync to see the changes.

You may also want to determine whether Google Drive File Stream works with Shared Drives when you need it.


Has anyone tried Insync? Does that make it better? I’m getting the feeling that Google really wants me to live in the browser, which is probably my frustration with it.

Ditto to that. It generally works pretty well, and I can certainly browse my content faster in the finder than in the browser.

However, I too need to reinstall from time to time.

You have two options, Google Backup and Sync (previously Google Drive) and Google Drive File Stream, if you would like to store and access the files in Finder. The main difference between them is that with Backup and Sync all your files are downloaded on to the machine whereas with Drive File Stream you have access to all your files but they are only downloaded as and when you need them.

This difference can be quite crucial depending on your use case. For example, we use G Suite at work and store hundreds of gigabytes worth of data on it. I would like to have access to this data without it taking up space on my Mac. Using Drive File Stream for my work account allows me to have access to all the files and the ones that I need are selectively synced, saving me a ton of space. I also have Backup and Sync running on my Mac for my personal Google account and they work well together without any conflicts. Unlike others on this thread, I have found Drive File Stream to be as fast as Dropbox.

Drive File Stream is not available for personal accounts. Also, you can use multiple instances of Backup and Sync if necessary. You might find this comparison useful too.