Differences between Google File Stream and Google Drive

Today, the way we work, collaborate and communicate within the work team has changed. Hybrid work is a fact and it is key to become friends with digital tools that facilitate and improve productivity among business users . Having G Suite applications (now Google Workspace) allows you to improve the efficiency of your company regardless of whether your employees work from the office or choose to telecommute, since you have the possibility of storing all your documents in the cloud without worrying about losing data.

With the Google Drive File Stream tool , or Drive for computers, you have the possibility of accessing all the files you have from Google Drive in the cloud directly from your PC or Laptop, wherever you are. Thus, it is possible to have all the files and folders stored in one place, in addition to keeping them safe and freeing up space on the hard disk . At the same time, in order to work together with all users, it is important to keep in mind that, since Drive files are stored in the cloud, all the changes you and your collaborators make will be automatically updated everywhere.

Which one should I use Google File stream or Google Drive in my business?

The reality is that both tools are complementary and key to use in companies. If we talk about Google Drive, we mean streaming storage, without downloading documents and folders on your computer.

In this way, Drive integrates with all your files (documents, spreadsheets or presentations) so that your team create, share and collaborate effectively in real time, without the need to migrate from current tools. In the case of Google Drive File Stream , there is no longer a need to download the files to the computer to be able to work with them. That is, if a user wants to work with Google Docs or Sheets, for example, they will not have to download the file to their computer, edit it and then upload it back to the cloud since with File Stream it can be opened in the cloud and edited directly there.

What are the benefits of switching from Google Drive to Google File Stream?

File Stream is one of the best options for those companies that work with desktop applications and heavy files. At, Google’s Premier Partner , we recommend companies that have Google Workspace services to consider the option of using File Stream, the Google Drive for computers . It is an excellent option if:

Your company is dedicated to marketing, design or architecture , so it uses many desktop applications , such as Adobe Photoshop or any of the Adobe Creative Cloud package, with very large documents that cannot be opened or edited from Drive .

You are using Mac or Windows computers (not Chromebooks), so uploading files to Drive is often manual. In this way, you can make your backup and synchronization of computer files automatically.
An important part of your work takes place outside of the Google Workspace applications.

Your computer uses different devices during its normal activity (Mac and / or Windows), so it cannot always access the files on your desktop. In this case File Stream is very useful, since your File Stream desktop folder will have access to all your devices.

The most important thing to keep in mind before you start using File Stream

Google Drive File Stream is a very simple tool to use, which allows a use very similar to that of a normal folder on our Chromebook or Windows, but with the advantage that the information is in the cloud.

To begin, it is necessary to know that so far, the service is only available for Google business users and its suite of applications and functionalities for work groups or individual users who have contracted the professional Google Workspace service . In addition, with File Stream, all users will mainly need a good Internet connection since the service synchronizes in real time with your Drive.

Another of the main advantages of using File Stream is that it allows you to access the files stored in Google Drive from your computer. The changes you make to your files will be synced. All files stored in shared drives, USBs and other computers will be displayed on your computer without having to download them from the cloud. You can mirror files from My Drive or view them without downloading them.

How to download and synchronize Google File stream on your computer step by step

With Drive for computers you can have the files you save in the cloud and those on your computer synchronized. Synchronization consists of downloading files from the cloud and uploading files from your computer’s hard drive. When the synchronization process is complete, the files on your computer and the ones you save in the cloud will be identical. If you edit, delete, or move a file in one location, the changes will be applied to the other location. In this way, your files will always be up-to-date and you can access them from any device, wherever you are.

1. Download the application and install it

To start you must install Drive for computers. This is compatible for both Mac and Windows. I remember that in the case of Chromebooks (Chrome OS), it will not be necessary to install the application, since this synchronization is automatic.

Windows: download the document here and run it silently.
Mac: download the document here and run it silently.

2. Login

To continue with the installation, you will need to log in with the account you want to sync. Make sure it is the correct G Suite account.

3. Transfer the documents

Once the session is started, you will see that a folder called “Drive File Stream” has appeared on your desktop . If you don’t see it, head over to your team drive . If you enter it, you will see that all the folders and documents that you already had created in your Drive account appear. Now you can start transferring your documents , either by creating a folder directly from here or from Drive, or by uploading your files to the folders you already had created.

In the event that you want to transfer the documents from a folder that you already have on your desktop, you can drag it directly to the Drive location where you want to upload it. You can also copy the files / folder, and paste them into File Stream.

In this step, it is essential that you know exactly how much the files you want to upload occupy and how much space you have available, since in the upload process you could reach the limit.

4. Check Drive file sync

After uploading the documents, you can check the update status of your files from File Stream. If you have Windows , go to the lower right section of the taskbar , open the drop-down menu and click on the File Stream application. In the case of Mac , follow the same process, but in the upper right bar.

Once you have clicked on this application, a window will appear with the latest files synced from your desktop and the notifications .

5. Open and edit files from File Stream

When the documents are already transferred to File Stream , you can access and edit them. You will only have to go to the File Stream desktop folder and open the document directly . For example, if you are editing a file with an Adobe application, you can open and edit it directly. When you’re done, you just have to save the file , and it will automatically update in File Stream .

6. Pause syncs

At some point, you may want to pause the syncing process if your connection is weak or you have a heavy workload on your computer. To do this, go to the File Stream taskbar window, click Settings , and go to ” Pause Synchronization . ” When you want it to be reactivated, you will only have to repeat the process and click on “Continue with the Synchronization” .

7. Everything updated and without copies on hard drives

As you have seen, with this process you can save yourself the process of manually uploading files and versions to Google Drive , or storing these files on a hard drive or external drive. This greatly facilitates the day-to-day work of those professionals who work with heavy documents and editing (Marketing, design, architecture …).

Using this method, all the important files will be found in your Drive folder and, if you need to edit them in a desktop application, you can do it through the local folder on your computer.

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