Prepare to update, because Google Drive PC app dies next March
The new Backup and Sync app for Windows and MacOS expands Google's approach to file storage spanning your PC and phone. Your choices: update now or update later.
Stephen Shanklandprincipal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Watch this: Google Drive is dying -- time to update
If you're among the hundreds of millions of people using
to synchronize files across your PCs and
, be warned: you've now got three months to install its replacement.
announced in July that it's replacing the Google Drive software for personal computers with Backup and Sync, which does the same thing as Google Drive but slurps in more files. On Thursday, Google detailed its transition plan, saying it'll stop supporting Drive on Dec. 11 and shut it down completely on March 12, 2018.
The new approach lets Google's software synchronize files you've stored on your desktop or your documents folders and make all your photos part of
And it reflects the growing importance of cloud-based services. In bygone days your files were anchored to a single computing device, but with services like Google Backup and Sync, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive and Apple iCloud, your PC or phone is becoming just the tool you happen to be using to edit a photo or write a letter or share a tweet. That's handy -- especially if you lose your laptop or break your phone.
Google announced the date of Drive's demise in a blog post for IT administrators who offer Google's G Suite productivity tools to employees. If you're one of those employees, you may see another Google option coming your way: File Stream. This software lets organizations store files solely in the cloud, "streaming" them to
when you're working on them and otherwise keeping your storage space unencumbered. If you're not one of those employees, don't worry about it.