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If you're the kind of person (or company) that likes to keep crucial documents locally stored, and not just hovering in the cloud, then you're in luck. After all, while the cloud has a lot of reliability and resiliency to offer, it's always a good idea to have back-ups of some of your most critical files offline too. That may be why Google Drive has recently started to test a new feature that allows you to save all of your content online.
As part of a recent blog post, Google revealed that today's G-Suite users can now officially apply to be part of a beta test that will allow them to save images, PDFs, Microsoft Office files and more that wouldn't typically be saved in Google format to their local machine.
For years, Google has allowed users to work on their Sheets, Docs, and Google Slides without an internet connection. However, the new G-Suite beta will expand this opportunity for offline storage to address all non-Google files too, including Office documents, PDFs, and so on.
Similarly to the pre-existing solution for Google's Docs, Sheets, and Slides solutions, you'll be able to access your Offline storage solution by toggling the "Available offline" feature when you right click on a file. Enabling the new feature in Drive for desktop Chrome will allow users to sync the most recent versions of critical documents on their devices, with access to offline editing also available.
Upgrading Your Offline Storage Solution
Generally, the cloud is sought after as one of the most valuable back-up and storage solutions available. However, for true redundancy, it's best to have at least 2 or 3 versions of a file that you can access whether the internet is available or not. With the new Beta, binary content will be available to download for offline access if you're a pre-existing G-Suite customer.
According to Google, the feature will help to complete the full offline experience for Google Drive users. Today's customers will be able to access their essential non-Google files whether they're online or offline. This could be particularly important in areas with poor internet connectivity, or for people who travel a lot.
Behind the curtain, the new feature leverages an extension for Google Docs Offline mode that already comes pre-installed into Chrome. The enterprise feature takes advantage of the Google Drive File Stream solution app for Windows and Mac, which works much in the same way as Backup and Sync.
Administrators can sign-up now to access the Binary Content Beta and enable their expanded offline storage capabilities for their domains. The setup process for end-users is similar to the consumer solution, with a file stream icon in the status bar that allows you to how your downloads are going. To get started you'll need to:
- Enable offline mode in the Google Drive or Docs Settings
- Sign into Chrome using an account that has already been whitelisted with the Google Group and access your Drive File Stream.
- Mark the non-Google files as available in Offline mode for your users. You can right click on the file and select the Make Available Offline option to do this.
Currently, this desktop function isn't available for Chrome OS.
Before You Jump Into the Beta
Before you go rushing over to Google Drive to try out the latest feature, it's worth keeping in mind that there's a requirement for a G-Suite account. That means that you're going to need to have a business account to use it - at least for the time being. Additionally, Google requires you to use the Google Chrome browser.
To make sure you can access the latest Beta version of Google Drive with offline storage, make sure that you have:
- A Google G-Suite Domain
- Offline enabled for the domain
- End-users signed into Chrome
- Offline enabled for individual end-users
If you're keen to join the Beta, you can apply here, and choose the files you want to save offline as soon as you get accepted