TechLoops

Google Drive

TL;DR

Google Drive works great for my platforms of choice (Mac, Android, Linux).

Summary

My needs for storage/backup are :

  • My data is with me at all times
    • Work
    • Mobile
    • Home
  • My data can be versioned
    • Typically, this is for documents and code
  • My data can be encrypted
    • With the caveat that I control the encryption
  • No data loss if all devices are destroyed or lost
  • I can easily store / backup content
  • Maintaining the backup isn’t my responsibility

Google Drive ends up fitting all of these needs, with a few tweaks I’ll share.

My data is with me at all times

Desktop

Home

On my home desktop, I use the Google Drive for Mac desktop application. This puts a folder on your local drive that syncs with Google Drive. From there, I use the Mac’s Finder / Terminal.app to move things around as I see fit. Pretty straightforward.

Work

Since I use Google for Work at home (heh) and at work, and the Google Drive desktop application doesn’t allow for multiple accounts, I use Drive to sync a folder manually, only downloading the specific files I need for doing work.

Mobile

I use an Android phone, and the Google Drive application for Android allows multiple accounts, I don’t do anything custom here.

My data can be versioned

Google Docs / Text

Google Drive automatically versions Google Docs stored in it, so I tend to write most of my documents as text files and convert to Docs, although lately I’ve just skipped this step and write most things in Docs directly.

Projects / Code

There are ways to version non-Google files, but I don’t want to have to think about this, so I use Git inside of Google Drive for anything I want to manage versioning for explicitly.

My data can be encrypted

Encrypted Sparse Image

The instructions for creating these are fairly straightforward, although unfortunately Mac-only. This works for me in most cases since I use Macs everywhere. Otherwise, I would use GPG/PGP in the same way (Sparse Images are nice because the Mac treats them as Volumes).

No data loss if all devices are destroyed or lost

Since this is all hosted in the Google “cloud”, they’re responsible for making sure I don’t lose data. More so, I have copies of my data on every computer, so data loss would require losing all of my devices at the same time Google lost all my data (which seems unlikely).

I can easily store / backup content

Desktop

Typically, the content I want to save on my computers are things like PDFs, Articles, Photos, and so on. Since I have a sync’d folder on my Desktop, this is easy enough.

It’s even easier to save content from Chrome, since it provides the ability to print any web page and save the contents as a PDF directly in Google Drive (Weirdly, I can’t find a good link for this from Google…).

Mobile

When I’m mobile, I want to save everything from pictures to audio to stuff I find in mobile applications. Google Drive is integrated as an Android “share action”, I can save content from just about anywhere into Google Drive.

Maintaining the backup isn’t my responsibility

I’m lazy, forgetful, and this is important, so I pay Google to maintain this for me.