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How to use Google Drive natively on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Since Gnome 3.18 was released it is possible to integrate Google Drive with Nautilus and few people know it. Today's tip will use Ubuntu as an example but can be used on any system that uses Gnome Shell as an interface (but not necessarily) and / or is compatible with this version of Gnome or higher.

Google Drive for Linux

If Google doesn't release an official version of Google Drive for Linux, luckily these days we have good options. Today I will teach you how to mount Google Drive directly in your file manager application, it will work as if it were a simple folder that you can access to work, there are some limitations, as you can not choose which folders to sync, but the bulk So it offers what you need.

How to install on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS?

I believe the only version of Ubuntu that natively supports this feature is 16.04 LTS, but if you have Ubuntu 15.10 and use a Gnome PPA to keep the environment up to date, it should work without any problems.

The first step is to install Gnome Control Center, you can easily do this through the Ubuntu Program Center as in the image below:

Accessing Google Drive on Linux

Once installed, you will be able to access it through the system menu or through the Unity bar, good to pay attention as it will be similar to "Unity Control Center"Including the present icons, it is a different application.

Google Drive on Ubuntu

At the "Gnome Control Center"you opened click on option"Online Accounts"as shown in the image above.

Google Drive Linux

Click the button "Add an online account"

Google Drive Linux

There are several accounts you can connect to, but since we're talking about Google Drive, click "Google"

Google Drive Linux

Sign in with your Google account.

Google Drive Linux

Allows system access to your Google account. The integration of Gnome with your Google account is very wide, and goes far beyond Drive, but as I do not need other features I have only enabled access to "Files", as you can see in the image below.

Google Drive on Linux

By enabling this feature you will see in the Unity sidebar and also on the left side in the "places" section of Nautilus your mounted Google Drive:

From the tests I did, the sync between Google Drive mounted in this way and browser access takes about 2 seconds, so it works great, both creating files from Google Drive in the browser and creating from the mounted folder.

There is also a slight limitation regarding documents and spreadsheets created through Google Docs, Google Spreadsheet, etc. Although the file syncs with Google Drive on your Nautilus, it doesn't have an extension and can't be opened by LibreOffice for example, so it's worth adding an extension to the file if you want to easily edit it. If you put a file created in one of these offline cases inside your Google Drive in Nautilus you will be able to edit it normally.

Another "contra", that there is no icon that indicates the synchronization of the files, or options for setting up the account through an indicator such as Dropbox for Linux for example, but an elegant solution and no gambiarra, or without much, for you to have your Google Drive files on Ubuntu.

See you next time!

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