Why I am Saying Goodbye to Google Drive

I really wanted to fall in love with Google Drive; it would have renewed my flagging interest in all things cloud. It had the potential to be my killer app of the year, finally unifying my online life in a single, feature rich environment.

Google Drive should have given me a single repository for music, documents, photographs, videos and every other file type I currently store in the cloud using Dropbox, and enable me to stream, view or edit everything online, straight from my browser using the Google Drive Chrome app.

Unfortunately, Google Drive has let me down in one massively unforgivable way. It fails to sync files. To state the problem more fully, the Google Drive native windows client is a file syncing app, which does not sync.

Let me give an example, early this week I created a few document outlines, and saved them to my Google Drive sync folder. I then jumped in the shower, before grabbing my netbook and heading out to lunch. As I usually do when lunching alone, I fired up my netbook expecting to get a little work done whilst the restaurant prepared my food.

I open the Google Drive sync folder on my netbook, and the files I created at home on my laptop before I left were not there. OK, no great problem I think to myself, I’ll simply point my browser at the Google Drive web interface. I find the files are not their either, they have not synced to Google Drive from the laptop sitting in my apartment. They failed to sync until I rebooted that laptop when I got home.

Another example, earlier today I completed writing a couple of press releases, they just needed a final proof read. Once again these were saved on my laptop in the Google Drive sync folder. I grabbed my netbook from the bedside table, and walked out on to my balcony with it, thinking I would get a little sun while I checked the press releases over a final time.

But guess what? They didn’t sync to the netbook. They were not available in the web interface either, my laptop had failed to sync file changes once again. I rebooted the laptop inside, and walked back out expecting the press releases to have synced to my netbook. They had not, but they had appeared on the web interface, so now the netbook wasn’t syncing either. A reboot of the netbook fixed this.

I am now of the opinion that I cannot trust the Google Drive desktop sync application to actually do its job, I have to keep checking that everything has actually synced, and this is frustrating. So I have just uninstalled Google Drive, and switched back to Dropbox, I have never had a single file that did not sync instantly using Dropbox in all the years I have been using it.