Google just issued a crucial update to Google Drive, allowing users to save any files for offline viewing. Although this feature has been available for G Suite users since 2019, it is now seeing a wider rollout.
The update is hitting accounts already, so users can select any file on Drive and save it for offline viewing on their web browsers. This eliminates the need to download other Google apps or the files themselves on your desktop.
It’s worth pointing out that Sheets, Slides, and Docs content already support offline viewing. However, this new update now covers other file types such as image files or PDFs. To get started, users have to right-click the file or content and turn on the “Available offline” toggle.
The feature is currently rolling out to some users, and will be widely available over the next 15 days
While Google-supported documents or files will open in the browser, non-supported content will open through your computer’s default supported app. As is the norm with Google features, Chrome OS users have had this feature for the past few months now, so they’re unlikely to notice any changes.
Google said (via Android Police) that the feature is available for all, including personal accounts, Workspace, or G Suite accounts. Although the feature is rolling out right away, it may take up to 15 days to be widely available.
The wider rollout of this feature will serve as an excellent alternative to Google’s Backup and Sync tool. This service has been around for a while, though it has failed to garner acceptance or popularity from the users. This explains Google’s decision to shut down the Backup and Sync app later this month.
In July, Google launched the ‘Google Drive For Desktop’ app to replace the Backup and Tool service. This app merged with the existing ‘Google Drive File Stream’ app, rendering the Backup and Sync app obsolete.
In a much-needed privacy boost to Drive, Google recently updated the app with the ability to block fellow Drive users. “Drive’s sharing capabilities fuel productivity and collaboration, but bad actors can abuse tools that are meant to facilitate helpful sharing,” the company said at the time.