Google is adding a new feature to G Suite called Drive File Streaming, which will supplant the official Google Drive app within G Suite for Mac and PC. Drive File Streaming allows users to access files in their Google Drive on-demand, and use them on the target device as if they were downloaded. Essentially, the aim is to reproduce the effects of keeping the file physically on-hand, but without using up storage space on the target device. The feature will begin to roll out to G Suite administrators in their consoles within the next few days, and will start rolling out to users on September 26. Administrators will have until then to get Drive File Streaming all set up for their users and ensure that everything works as it should. Once the rollout begins, it should be live for all G Suite users within about three days.
It is important to note that the rollout of this new feature marks the end of the road for the official Google Drive app for Mac and PC, at least within G Suite, and the sync functionality that comes with it. To be blunt, this means that there will no longer be any way for G Suite users to keep up-to-date copies of files from their Google Drive physically on their PC without an external utility of some sort, and the same can be said of editing a file on a PC and having the edited version automatically appear in Google Drive. Since the functionality is still covered by Google’s official app as of this writing, external clients in the vein of Insync may be hard to find for a while, and some existing ones that depended on the app’s functionality for their backend may break.
As an additional caveat, Team Drive adminstrators will no longer be able to use the desktop Drive app to edit or add files in their managed Team Drives, and Drive File Streaming does not support Team Drives. This means that retrieving or editing files for Team Drives will only take place on the web version of Google Drive from now on. Users will start to see depreciation messages for the Drive app in October, urging them to stop using the sync functionality in order to save disk space, and support for the app will end shortly afterward.