Windows – How does the desktop application of Google Drive work

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I've seen all the demo videos on how google drive works but some things still don't make sense:

  1. I downloaded the app and the folder appears on my computer. Does it sync everything automatically or only things I drag in it? (So if I want to sync my whole 1GB Documents Folder, I drag (move, make shortcut, copy?) that folder in there? If I move it, the folder is no longer in my main directory, which I don't think is how it's supposed to work.

  2. If I add something to my Google Drive, it's downloaded onto my computer as well. So my 1GB folder is duplicated twice, one on my computer, one in the drives folder. (Isn't it supposed to be stored on Google's servers?)

  3. What's the point of the downloaded Google Drive app as compared to just using the web interface? The differences I see are: "Easier to drag and drop", "Duplicate data". Are these the only ones or do they serve different functions?

I'm still sort of confused, any explanations would be helpful, thanks

Best Answer

  1. Google Drive syncs automatically. Shortcuts won't do. If you add shortcut in your Drive folder, only the shortcut is synchronized, not the actually file. See this post to know how you can make Google Drive your default documents folder. However, you can use NTFS junctions to sync folders and files from outside your main google drive folder.

  2. The whole purpose of Drive is to provide users easy access to their files, wherever they are. That's why it syncs files to your computer. If you want something only online, use the selective sync feature. Right-click on tray icon > Preferences. In the dialog that opens, under Sync options, uncheck those folders which you don't want synced on your computer.

  3. As I said earlier, Google Drive makes your data accessible everywhere, always. Suppose you have some important file online and you don't have internet. What would you do? With Google Drive you would have the file on your computer as well. And if you make some changes in it, you won't have to manually upload the file once internet comes back. It's done automatically. Moreover, if you use Drive on your phone or on a different computer, you automatically have the updated file. This was one example, once you start using it regularly, you will find more uses.

Note If you want to check and make sure Google Drive is syncing (on Windows 7) look in the right corner of your tool bar. There should be a little yellow, green and blue triangle lighted up.