Google Drive currently has two sync capabilities distinct for its enterprise and consumer versions. Drive File Stream is used by business customers while consumers sync their files on desktops using the Backup and Sync feature.
The company is planning to unify that experience for Workspace customers. Google announced today that it is merging Drive's sync clients for both businesses and consumers later this year. The goal is to make it easier for admins to manage deployments of sync services and avoid confusion for end users.
Of course, some of the key features from both services will combine in the upcoming unified client such as the ability to sync only individual files in My Drive for offline use as well as accessing and storing Microsoft Office and Photoshop files. You'll also be able to view who is editing a Microsoft Office document in real time and upload Apple Photos library, among other capabilities. There's also support for dark mode and simultaneous access to multiple accounts.
In addition to those existing features, the unified client is adding a new capability that will let you sync photos and videos directly to Google Photos instead of Drive. Some features will be removed, however, such as the ability to back up only selected My Drive folders to your computer, although you can stream files instead to save space. You won't also be able to ignore file extensions, unlike in the Backup and Sync feature.
Drive File Stream will also be renamed to Google Drive for desktop by default starting with version 45 and higher. It should be noted that the name change won't revamp its functionality. In addition, no action is needed from most admins and end users to use the the unified client.
For Backup and Sync users, Google will require them to switch to Drive for desktop. The search giant will also send notifications to Workspace admins and end users three months before the transition to Drive for desktop hits the deadline.
You can sign up for the beta version of the unified client in order to preview how it will work before its general availability. Google will also provide a clearer timeline when the upcoming change is nearing its public release.