GNOME 3.18 is to introduce native support for Google Drive in the GNOME file manager.
But before you get too excited there are caveats.
The feature won’t function as a true desktop Linux client for Google’s online cloud storage service and you will need to be online to access cloud files.
How will it work? Let’s take a look.
Using Google Drive in GNOME 3.18
Google is yet to provide an official Linux client for the service. And despite rumours to the contrary, we’ve heard nothing to suggest this will change soon. It is left to third party developers to plug the gap for those who love Google Drive but happen to use Linux.
First up: the kicker.
GNOME’s plans for Google Drive integration in Nautilus won’t enable you to ‘sync’ files or folders for offline use, at least not yet. It won’t offers the sorts of features found in Dropbox, Copy or any other cloud back-up service that offers a native Linux desktop client.
‘You will be able to upload files to Google Drive using Nautilus’
Instead, Google Drive will be loaded in the Nautilus sidebar as a remote filesystem. This will be automatic when you add a Google account to GNOME Online Accounts.
This folder will work like any other remote file system does (i.e. online) and your files will load as they would in a local folder (yes, thumbnails included).
You will be able to upload files to Google Drive by dragging or pasting items into this remote folder. Work on folder creation is underway.
Files will open directly in native desktop apps (e.g., PDFs open in GNOME Documents, images in Eye of GNOME, audio files in Totem, etc) without the need to manually download them first.
‘Google Drive files will even open in native desktop apps’
For Google-specific files, or files which no native app has support, GNOME will helpfully open it in a web browser.
The feature uses the Google Drive API v2.
Although not a perfect solution it is a welcome one.
This feature is unlikely to tempt Dropbox users away from the comfort of their official client but for those of us who use Google Drive — I have 1TB of space so I take full advantage — it is sure to make accessing and managing files easier (and saves the need for PPAs, scripts and buggy software).
GNOME 3.18 Is Released This Month
Excited? This is just one of many awesome improvements heading to the desktop with the release of GNOME 3.18 later this month.
Ubuntu GNOME 15.10 users should be able to upgrade to GNOME 3.18 using the semi-official, but entirely unsupported, GNOME 3 testing PPA shortly after its release in October.
Please note that while this feature is currently planned for inclusion in GNOME 3.18 it is not guaranteed to arrive with it. Furthermore, as mentioned, but worth emphasising to stave disappointment, this feature won’t let you automatically “sync” files offline.