What options exist for Ubuntu users to get similar functionality to Google File Stream on Windows/Mac? I need two functionalities:

  1. All data lives in the Google Drive cloud and is only downloaded when I need it, e.g. when accessing it through the Terminal or Nautilus application?

  2. Whenever I add a file/modify an existing file, it must automatically be uploaded back up into the cloud.

I have a lot of files (>1M) which use quite a bit of space (~10Tb) on my Google Drive. So far I have used Google File Stream on Windows to have access to all that data on my laptop (500Gb SSD). I'm currently trying to move to Linux and ran into the problem that I can not find an option with similar features as Google File Stream offers. Unfortunately Google doesn't seem to offer Google File Stream on Linux: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/apps/Q6_-YzUaQzM

I have found the following options, none of which seem to do fulfill both requirements:

  1. InSync, Looked good, has been busy indexing my files for 4 days now and still is running - Feels like it's getting slower over time. At the moment I can not access files that are in folders, but the folder structure seems to be present.

  2. Gnome integration : This seems to just download everything that's in the cloud. Not feasible due to data volume.

  3. rClone: Haven't tried, but if I understand correctly I would need to explicitly download and upload every file using the terminal?

  4. Overgrive: More a replacement for Google Drive - couldn't access the data that was not explicitly synchronized.

  5. google-drive-ocamlfuse: Haven't tried - do I understand correctly that it downloads everything, similar to the Gnome integration?


Note, As there's no tag for google-file stream I have to use the google drive tag.

  • What did you end up doing? I'm currently using GVFS (Gnome integration above) but it's not really usable. Doesn't download everything, which is correct, but it also doesn't seem to cache - so it takes 10-15 minutes every time I open the location. – Ben Parsons Feb 14 '19 at 10:03
  • I wasn't able to solve the problem, unfortunately. InSync just kept 'working' for the whole free trial period. I'm back to using Windows. – dtadres Feb 14 '19 at 14:55
  • That's really disappointing. I'm looking into moving a lot of my Google Drive usage to my own NextCloud instance, but sorry you weren't able to get it working. – Ben Parsons Feb 14 '19 at 16:20
  • I use InSync - the initial sync (file indexing does take a long time, but more than a couple of days is a bug). Works well - I can figure out which ones to download "on demand" and not. – Andor Kiss Aug 7 '19 at 19:59

I use google-drive-ocamlfuse and it works perfectly. You can set up a "large file threshold" and it will stream all larger files. You can enable this in the config file. I have a Plex Media Server to which i have attached about 10TB of media files this way. Whenever I play a movie, the actual file is not downloaded, but streamed directly from drive even if the file needs converting. For uploading, it can only upload full files (drive api limitation). You can set the cache size limit and it will automatically clear rotate the cache


I had the same situation. I was moving from Windows 10 to Ubuntu. I did not have as much data as you, but I did want to have easy access to all my docs without taking space on my SSD.

My solution was more of a work around. On Ubuntu use any VM software such us VM Ware player or Virtual box to install an instance of Windows on your computer. Then, whatever the file is for Google file stream share it with the host.

A second option here is to only open the Windows VM when you need to access the files.

Another approach (I have not test) and I will only use if I truly open the files often enough is to use Wine to install File Stream.

I hope some of this solutions helps.

I thinks it is very frustrating that they leave Linux users behind. Good luck!

  • 1
    Neither File Stream nor Backup and Sync install with Wine. They can't connect to the Internet during install and fail. – Ramon Suarez May 17 '19 at 15:25
  • Thanks for the info. When it comes to Wine is a hit or miss. I never get consistent results. – Rick Jul 20 '19 at 3:31

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