Google is a major user and sponsor of open source projects. However on their Google Drive product they surprisingly lack a linux client to synchronize to and from the cloud.
Last year, two of the most popular and widely adopted distros of linux (according to Distrowatch) are Ubuntu/Debian based. From these users, all that have Google accounts and are active users of the former Google Docs suite, found themselves left behind in favor of commercial OS users: Windows and Mac. Google’s product manager Teresa W. stated that “Hi everyone - Google Drive for Linux is still in the works. Thanks for following up with us!”. Personally, and having passed 5 months since the lauch, I really begin to doubt this. Well, having gone over this brief rant, let’s get down to business.
You have a really cool Linux client for Google Drive called InSync. It’s installation is pretty straightforward and it’ easy enough to use. Bu it bring two catches with it:
- It’s still in beta stage;
- It’s only free while in beta stage:
Personally I don’t intend to use free software, maybe paying for extra storage space on Google Drive and then some day go spend money on a third-party client software.
The solution I found was SMEStorage. I don’t know how this guys have been staying so low profile because they have a really cool service. On the free account mode, you get 5GB free space and access to another 3 cloud storage providers, mapped to the same account. The only catch is that you get a 2GB upload/download monthly limit, which is fine if you’re like me and use your Google Drive for documents, leaving the “heavy stuff” for Dropbox.
The first step is to register for SMEStorage. You can go to the register page here.
Afterwards, on your dashboard, you add a new cloud provider:
From the list, choose the Google Drive Cloud Provider:
Authorize SMEStorage to access your Google Drive information and files:
When your done, you can choose to synchronize the Google Drive information with SMEStorage:
What this does is not to import the files but to read and catalog the metadata from the files, so you can view them on the file explorer. By doing so, it prevents this synchronization process and file browsing to be charged on your monthly free limit.
Passing on to the Ubuntu specific installation, you can get the Linux free Cloud Tools from here. Download the file and save it to your home folder:
Open the package with the Ubuntu software center tool and choose “Install”.
When it successfully completes, you should have three new tools on your machine. Open the dash and type “smes”:
For the remaining steps, I chose to go through the Sync Center setup, which is the one I’ll use, since it performs a local copy of the synced files.When opening the program for the first time it open the properties window, to configure the connection:
After putting in the credentials and choosing your desired sync schedule, you map between your cloud providers and your chosen local folders:
After mapping the folders and pressing “OK”, you can choose to perform a sync down operation which will download all your files from the cloud to the chosen folder, recursively creating subfolders.All goes well, you’ll be presented with a dialog like this:
Hope this helps some of the Google Drive and Ubuntu users who are still looking for a solution.