As promised last month, Google has today launched its new “Backup and Sync from Google” tool, which aims to help users more easily back up the files and photos on their computer. The utility is meant to replace the older Google Photos desktop app, as well as the Google Drive client applications for both Mac and PC.
Essentially, it’s combining the older apps’ functionality into one experience, so you don’t have to use two different software programs for the very similar purpose of getting files off your computer and into Google’s cloud.
The new tool offers a simple user interface, where you’ll first sign into your Google account, then select the folders you want Google to continually back up to Google Drive. Because it’s replacing current users’ existing Google Drive installations, the tool will respect any current settings you’ve already specified on Mac and PC, Google explained last month, when it announced the tool was in the works.
In addition to backing up files on your desktop computer, the new software also can be used to back up photos from USB-connected devices, like cameras, as well as SD cards. After the back up is complete, your files can be accessed in Google Drive from any device — including your computer, phone or tablet. Your photos and videos, meanwhile, will be available in Google Photos.
Google says that business users — meaning those on G Suite — shouldn’t download this new software utility at this time.
The company is planning to release a new enterprise-focused solution called Drive File Stream, which will roll out to all G Suite Basic, Business, Enterprise, Education and Nonprofit domains later this year. (G Suite users can apply to the Early Adopter Program if they want to try Drive File Stream ahead of its public launch.)
From within the Backup and Sync software, you’ll be able to configure a number of settings and preferences, including whether you want photos and videos uploaded to Google’s cloud in their original quality (as pro photographers would likely choose), or just high quality.
More-advanced users may want to make other changes, like selecting how they want Drive to handle file deletions, or changing the download or upload rates.
Finally, you’ll be able to upgrade your Google Drive storage subscription from the app. That’s something you might need to do if you take this opportunity to offload a lot of your desktop clutter into the cloud.