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Introducing Google Drive’s Drive File Stream, Placeholders for Files stored in the Cloud

by Felix Omondi
Drive File Stream

No doubt cloud computing and cloud storage has become a very important part of modern day computing, especially when you are on the go. Google new Drive File Stream is about to make the cloud experience even more convenient.

Currently, Google Drive just like Microsoft’s OneDrive app on Windows 10 PC download and store files locally. That is to say, for every file store in the cloud, which you are using, must be downloaded to your device first. If you make any changes to the file and save it, the file will then be uploaded to replace the previous version stored in the cloud.

The Drawbacks of that Mechanism

By first downloading the file (in its entirety) to your device can be tricky for very large file on devices with small internal storage space. Devices such as smartphones and tablets come with limited space. It also takes a lot of time to download the entire file to your device, and again upload the same file to the cloud to replace the earlier version.

How Google’s Drive File Stream is an improvement

The search engine new feature is nothing new, if anything it borrows from Dropbox Smart Sync and Microsoft’s OneDrive in Windows 8. The Drive File Stream is basically placeholders for files stored in the cloud.

With the Drive File System or placeholders, you get to view the file structure and download only the files you need to open. This has the benefit of letting you have more space when space limitation is a concern, and the download is faster given you download smaller portion of the files. You only download what you need.

As Google explains, “With Drive File Stream, you can work with Drive files directly from the apps you’re used to, like Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop. Any changes you make to files in those apps are saved automatically to Drive and can be accessed from any of your devices later.”

Drive File Stream is currently available on Windows PCs and Macs, but is currently in beta stage. There is also no official communication as to when it will be available to the general consumers. This new feature is available as part of the G Suite and you will have to be an early adopter with a Business, Education, or Enterprise account.

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