Google Backup and Sync is here: let's take a look

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 13, 2017
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Backup, Companies, Google

Google Backup and Sync is a new program by Google that combines Google Photos and Google Drive functionality in a single client application.

The new client replaces the old clients that Google provided for these tasks. Downloads are available on Google Drive and Google Photos; I could not get the download to start on Google Drive, but the download started fine on Google Photos.

The new Google Backup and Sync is available for Windows and Mac operating systems only at this point in time. It seems that it is not available for mobile devices yet, as Google is still advertising its Google Photos application for mobile devices on the Photos download page.

Google Backup and Sync

google backup and sync

You are asked to sign in to a Google Account after installation. This is a straightforward process; you enter your username, then the Google account password, and if enabled, the two-factor authentication code on top of that.

Note that the new application is not intended for Google Suite users. These will have access to Drive File Stream at a later point in time.

Google Backup and Sync prompts you for making a choice in regards to backups. You can select to back up photos and videos only, or all files (in selected folders).

Once you have made that initial decision, you are asked to make additional selections on the next (and final setup) screen.

welcome to backup and sync

The first lets you select the folders on the computer that you want synchronized to Google Drive. Desktop,Documents and Pictures are selected by default. You may uncheck any of those, and add custom folders to the backup process as well.

The second option has been taken directly from Google Photos. You are asked to select a quality level for uploaded images. The default is "high quality" which does not count against the storage quota of the account. You may switch that to original quality, which may count against the quota but ensures that photos are uploaded in their original resolution and not modified by Google in the process.

A click on the "advanced settings" link opens an option to sync "My Drive" to this computer. This synchronizes the data on Google Drive with the computer in question. Note that this option is not selected by default, and needs to be checked.

Google will compare files on the device with those online, and start the sync process right after you hit the start button on the last setup page.


google backup and sync interface

Google Backup and Sync ships with additional preferences that become available after the initial sync is underway.

You may change the preferences that were presented to you during setup, and the following ones:

  • Select how items are deleted. You have three options:
    • Don't remove items everywhere -- The default option keeps files on Google Drive if you delete them on the computer.
    • Remove items everywhere -- When you delete items on your computer, or on Google Drive, files in other sync locations get deleted as well.
    • Ask me before removing items everywhere -- You are prompted whenevery ou delete something on the computer.
  • Upload newly added photos and videos to Google Photos.
  • Open Backup and Sync on system startup.
  • Show file sync status icons and right-click menu.
  • Show warning when I remove items from a shared folder.
  • Network Settings
    • Proxy: auto-detect or direct connection.
    • Limit download or upload rate.
  • Allow back ups of camera or phones connected to the device.


Google Backup and Sync won't sync the following photos or videos (for use with google Photos):

  • Videos larger than 10 Gigabytes in size.
  • Photos larger than 75 MB or 100 MP.
  • Items that are smaller than 256x256
  • Photo file extensions other than: .jpg, .png, .webp and some RAW files.
  • Video file extensions other than: .mpg, .mod, .mmv, .tod, .wmv, .asf, .avi, .divx, .mov, .m4v, .3gp, .3g2, .mp4, .m2t, .m2ts, .mts, and .mkv files.

Closing Words

Google Backup and Sync combines Google Photos and Google Drive sync functionality in a single client. Google users on Windows or Mac devices that use an older client may want to consider installing the new client instead to take advantage of that.

Now You: Do you use a Google sync program?

software image
Author Rating
4.5 based on 9 votes
Software Name
Google Backup and Sync
Software Category
Landing Page

Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Lee said on May 25, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    It’s all confusing AF

  2. Kevin said on October 6, 2017 at 4:58 am

    I’m disappointed that there isn’t a setting to filter out file types that you do not want backed up.

  3. Jerry said on September 19, 2017 at 4:19 am

    When I modify a picture on my computer it gets updated on my google drive. However, the same picture does not get updated in google photos. Is this normal behavior or is it a bug?

  4. moclouds said on September 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Seems like this product should be renamed “Backup and, well, just backup” and forget the sync part; unless I am missing something.

    It appears that EACH computer is mapped to a corresponding computer FOLDER in google.

    Question is how do you sync when there is no crossover between devices.

    Actually having trouble believing my eyes that it is actually this primitive and hoping I am not understanding something obvious that will let me sync the same folder between devices.

    1. ChimpanZed said on September 24, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      I am finding the same thing. I have been looking for an alternative to SugarSync for a while, especially one that integrates well with third party mobile apps (SugarSync does not).

      With Google Backup and Sync I can sync between a computer and the cloud both ways, but I can’t sync between multiple computers and the cloud.


      Computer1 Cloud1
      Computer2 Cloud2

      Doesn’t work:

      Computer1 Cloud Computer2

      And that stinks.

  5. Gerry said on July 20, 2017 at 9:14 am

    I’ve found the whole Backup and Sync process very confusing. My photos on Google Photos now seem in complete disarray, my list of ‘people’ has shrunk to just 2 faces, my photos on my computer have been ‘optimized’ i.e. they’ve shrunk in size, etc.
    So I decided to uninstall it and regroup, get my wits back.
    But I find this morning that it is still running, still syncing my files, even though it’s no longer installed!
    Anybody any idea how to get rid of this? (maybe I should be posting this on a Google support forum but I tend to trust the folks on this site)
    Many thanks.

  6. Iris C McCoy said on July 20, 2017 at 2:27 am

    I cannot figure out how to change additional preferences, like the default setting of “don’t delete items everywhere”. The instructions I found said “First click on “Backup and Sync” on your computer”. I can’t find any such thing. I have a “My Drive” on my tool bar but it has no settings for what I need. Any help will be appreciated.

  7. CGA said on July 14, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Constantly eating 10% cpu and above.

  8. Ananya said on July 13, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    It would have been nice if this application also maintained file history and was built so that it made your computer resilient to ransomware attack.

    This is an excellent example of a product that was conceived and developed for two year but Agile did nothing to update the requirement to embed mitigating emerging threats to data availability.

    They didn’t solve for the 99% when this was a great opportunity. I would have recommended this solution to every mom-pop-cousin to use this and pay the $2/mo for additional Google Drive space to increase chance of recovery from ransomware attacks.

  9. ilev said on July 13, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    Google Backup and Sync won’t sync Photo file extensions: .jpg, .png .. or Video file extension .mp4 .mpg..
    So what photos extension or video extension will the app sync ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 13, 2017 at 5:59 pm

      Corrected, I meant “other than”

      1. Ali Sofyan Nasution said on September 17, 2017 at 8:44 pm

        I don’t know which adjective should I pick about your openness to corrections, but I’m sure it’s a positive one! Always love reading the articles here since the first time it hit digg. Keep it up!

  10. Doc said on July 13, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    “…lets take a look”
    “Let’s” is a contraction of “let us”; an apostrophe is required, Martin.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 13, 2017 at 4:55 pm


  11. Peter said on July 13, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    You probably don’t mean the two last bullets of the Restrictions to belong to:
    >> Google Backup and Sync won’t sync the following photos or videos (for use with google Photos):
    Do you?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 13, 2017 at 6:17 pm

      Peter you are right, corrected. Thanks.

  12. JV said on July 13, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    This is the first time in years Google came up with something that’s actually useful to me. A decent upgrade to my current Google Drive client.

  13. Bryan said on July 13, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Just thought I’d comment on Ghacks itself and not Google Backup, but the font color is too gray and I really have a terrible experience when I visit the site. I’m on a Mac, so maybe things look better on Windows?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 13, 2017 at 1:06 pm

      Bryan can you make a screenshot of how it looks like and show me?

      1. Ananya said on July 13, 2017 at 10:42 pm

        I have the same problem on Chrome on my MacBook. The text is borderline unreadable.

      2. ShintoPlasm said on July 13, 2017 at 9:47 pm

        I’m using the Font Changer with Google Web Fonts extension from the Chrome Store (using it on Opera) to mitigate the font issue on Mac. I’m setting the font weight to ‘Normal’ which makes the site much more readable.

      3. Martin Brinkmann said on July 14, 2017 at 6:54 am

        Okay, I put this on the to do list for the new theme. I don’t have a Mac, and rely on online tools to check:

      4. Bryan said on July 13, 2017 at 2:24 pm

        Okay, I uploaded a screenshot. This was viewed in Chrome for Mac.

      5. Martin Brinkmann said on July 13, 2017 at 2:44 pm

        It should not look like this at all. I don’t have access to a Mac and cannot fix this right now unfortunately. We are working on a new theme though and the issue should be gone when it gets released. I set the text color to full black right now (instead of #333333 which is dark gray).

  14. Richard said on July 13, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    FWIW, it seems to works fine with G-Suite now.

    As I just installed it, it is now re-syncing my photos and files, which is well over a terabyte of files. It will be interesting to see how long this takes on my first computer. Hope it doesn’t want to re-upload everything. If so, then this is a big problem as I have other computers that will need to sync.

    Time will tell.

    1. Richard said on July 13, 2017 at 12:08 pm

      Well, I am surprised. It seems to be only syncing the 5 files that were added or changed since I installed it a few minutes ago.

  15. Red said on July 13, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Any idea if they made this tool 64 bit? Google Drive is 32, only.

    1. Curtis K said on July 18, 2017 at 5:23 am

      The help page don’t have it listed.

  16. John C. said on July 13, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Anybody who trusts the (IMO) NSA backed Google is a complete fool. Keep your data on an air-gapped system. “Do no evil” my a**. Some may argue, “But I have nothing to hide.” To this argument I say, “Maybe you don’t now, but the day may come when you do.”

    Don’t be a sheeple.

    1. Womble said on July 14, 2017 at 12:29 am

      The NSA exists because of those who find that day has come. You can’t place a price on keeping your children safe.

      1. Bob said on August 24, 2017 at 1:46 am

        Uh yeah you can. About tree fiddy

    2. Johhny B. said on July 13, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      “…NSA backed Google…”

      “Don’t be a sheeple.”
      – John C.

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