After the news broke about the NSA’s unlawful spying on pretty much everyone, I began to think about what personal data I was transmitting over the internet. The list was long and shocking, not because I have anything to hide but because knowing that someone out there is going through my data made me feel violated. Google is the first thing that came to mind. Why the hell am I sharing any data with these guys? So I hastily set out to disconnect my Google Drive from my computer in an attempt to take my folder offline.
This is how it went down: I signed out of my account on the desktop app and quit the program. This left, what I thought was, a synchronized copy of my Google Drive folder. Just to be sure, I did a document count on both the local folder and the online one. Everything matched up so the next step was to delete my online copies. STOP RIGHT THERE! If folders are synchronized and you have one copy online and one copy offline you would think logically that its safe to delete one or the other after the sync service was stopped.
Ok, you know where this is going…
So I fired up the web browser, logged into my Google Drive account and did the ol’ ‘Select All and Move To Trash’ manoeuvre in an attempt to clear my documents from the Google cloud (remember, I have a previously synced copy of all the documents on my local drive). Days went by and I thought nothing of it, I tried to open a few files from the offline copy and no problems arose. Then I went to go open a document that I had created using the Google Doc editor and thats when it hit the fan. None of those type of docs could be opened. Not one. I had 10,000 documents in that folder but a crucial 100 or so were created via Google Docs and they were all gone(cue: poop hitting fan sound). Of course, there is an answer.
If you read carefully and go through a dozen help pages, Google Drive does not actually sync all the files in your account. It merely creates links to the files that were created using their editor. So go ahead and compare your file count between offline and online all you want, 1 does not equal one in this case. By the way, Dropbox does not have this problem and I highly recommend it right now for free and secure cloud based storage.
My conclusion is that Google Drive is not a good solution for cloud based file storage. It does not provide a true synchronization service. What it really does is muddle your perfectly good local files with online nonsense, a trap that keeps you from leaving the clutch of an internet giant. Something else I forgot to mention is that the desktop app that runs as a service sucks up a huge amount of CPU power, it literally sucked.