Google Drive (Backup and Sync) workaround for Linux.

Are you frustrated, angry and a little hurt that Google has still not released a desktop client of Google Drive for your favorite Linux distro? Are you having weird, nostalgic thoughts about shifting back to the blue screen of death or popularly known as the operating system, Windows? That sweet accessibility, comforts and smooth sync it provides. As your hungry soul searches relentlessly on Google for proper backup options on Linux. Friends, fear no more. I got you all covered (Well, almost all of you).

This method here works on Ubuntu [Only 16.04 or higher] (and its other flavors like Xubuntu etc; as tested by me) and Linux Mint without the use of any unofficial clients or opening your browser. If you have another distro other than the ones listed here, then skip down to the last section.

If you tried it on your system or any other distro. Do report your findings and results of your endeavors into the unknown. Also, I have listed various links in the sources section below for reference. Till then follow through these easy steps.

STEPS

  1. Fire up the terminal and install GNOME Control Center (GNOME System Settings) and GNOME Online Accounts.
    sudo apt install gnome-control-center gnome-online-accounts

    This might already be there in Ubuntu 17.04 but install it just to be on the safer side of things.

    Installing GNOME control center (If not already installed)

    Installing GNOME control center (If not already installed)

  2. Open GNOME Control Center on your distro, if you can’t find it. Then enter this in your terminal in Ubuntu.
    gnome-control-centerFor XFCE
    XDG_CURRENT_DESKTOP=GNOME gnome-control-center

    Viewing GNOME control center in XFCE

    Viewing GNOME control center in XFCE

  3. Open Online Accounts listed in the dialog box that opened.
    Direct path from terminal:- gnome-control-center online-accountsXFCE offers a different view of settings to change it to GNOME view (default it to GNOME control center making it easier to access online accounts)

    GNOME online accounts view

    GNOME online accounts view

  4. Click the ‘+’ button to add an online account in your GNOME Online Accounts. In this case, Google. A popup will open in which add your credentials and voila. Your Google Account is now added and ready for use. Select and remove permission on data GNOME can access and view.
    Screenshot_2017-12-21_06-53-04

    Add Google Account

    Allow GNOME access

    Allow GNOME access

    Choose which account will be used for logging into the drive

    Choose which account will be used for logging into the drive

    After logging in with your Google Account

    After logging into your Google Account

  5. Access Google Drive from your file manager (In the devices section of Thunar or Nautilus. Whichever you prefer). The second entry in the list (refer image below) is my mounted Google Drive. So it should look something like this.

The 2nd entry is my Google Drive.

All screenshots are taken from my current system having Xubuntu 16.04.

Other Fine Details and More Information

  • High bandwidth is recommended, in sync with Google Drive.
  • Just like on Ubuntu, your files won’t actually “sync” to your desktop, which means you won’t get an entirely offline copy. It’s just a convenient way to manage, open, and modify files without using your web browser.
  • You can seamlessly open and modify files and the changes will immediately be uploaded to your Google Drive account online. Your system will automatically upload the modified copy. Any files you add or delete are instantly synchronized back to your Google account, too.
  • With this, only sync can happen and other features that the Drive Client offers. This is not a complete solution but a workaround. And a pretty good one at that.
  • With me, for undisturbed access to the drive from the manager. Make sure of the following:-
    •    Online Accounts is opened in the background.
    •    If you get a message stating, “Failed to mount; Invalid Credentials for ” Then probably you need to log in again.
    •    If it is slow, then there is really nothing you can do about it. Trust me. Sometimes it is very slow. Though very effective.
  • The GNOME Control Center maybe not be visible in the menu try thus, I provided a way to get over that problem.

Other Clients That I Know of but Never Bothered to Use After This

With the open-source community being so active. They are fully functional unofficial Google Drive Clients who will do the job for you. I still haven’t tried them out. But if this doesn’t work out for you then there is still hope for you. These might not be free. If you have experienced them before, do comment about it.

  1. Download Insync (available for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux: Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Arch Linux, Raspberry Pi CentOS/RHEL as well as portable binaries.)
  2. drive: A Command-line Tool by a Google Drive Developer. Installation details – https://github.com/odeke-em/drive#installation
  3. overGrive: A $5 Google Drive Client

Sources

OneTwo, and Three

That’s it on my side, hope it helps. Do post out the results or any problems you face in the comment section. Feedback appreciated.

Till then, live in the mix.

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