Google will retire the company's Google Drive software, a client used to sync files between local devices and Google's cloud, on March 12th, 2018 for all customers.
Customers who run Google Drive currently may continue to do so, but the software will no longer be supported from December 11th, 2017 on, and will be shut down completely on March 12th, 2018.
Shut down is an ambiguous term, and it is unclear whether that means that Google will remove the client from its web properties, or if it will block communication of Google Drive clients with its cloud storage.
With this launch, Google Drive for Mac/PC is officially deprecated. It will no longer be supported starting on December 11th, 2017, and it will shut down completely on March 12th, 2018.
The Google Drive client will show messages to users starting in October that informs customers that the client will be retired. Customers who run both new programs, Drive File Stream and Backup and Sync, are prompted to stop using Backup and Sync to save disk space.
The company wants customers to use newer programs instead which it revealed some time ago and yesterday.
Regular customers -- read free customers -- are asked to use Google Backup and Sync, a new program that combines the functionality of Google Drive and Google Photos. It is available for Windows and Mac operating systems, and supports the syncing of any folder and files you pick with Google's cloud storage.
Google Apps customers on the other hand may use Drive File Stream instead. The new program will become available generally on September 26th, 2017 to all organizations and users of Google Apps.
Drive File Stream and Backup and Sync share features, but there are also differences between the two clients.
The core differences are
|Feature||Drive File Stream||Backup and Sync|
|Access files in My Drive||yes||yes|
|Access files in Team Drives||yes||no|
|Stream files on demand||yes||no|
|Sync only selected folders in My Drive||yes||yes|
|Sync only individual files in My Drive||yes||no|
|Use native applications like MS Word and Photoshop||yes||yes|
|Sync other folders, such as Documents or Desktop||no||yes|
Drive File Stream supports access to team drives, on-demand file streaming, and the syncing of individual files in My Drive.
Backup and Sync on the other hand supports the synchronization of folders other than the default folders (such as Documents and Settings).
Team Drive editors cannot edit Team Drive files when they are opened in Drive File Stream however; Google notes that editors need to open the on the web to edit them.
There is another difference: Drive File Stream is listed as a drive when installed on Windows or Mac devices while Backup and Sync as a folder of a hard drive.
Google Apps administrators find Drive File Stream under Apps > G Suite > Drive and Docs > Data Access. Information on deploying File Drive Stream is available on this Google Support page.