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Read this before trying Google Team Drives & File Stream
So this holiday I decided to try out Google Team Drives and File Stream (the Drive app is being phased out, so now's as good a time as any). I wasted at least a day - what a nightmare!!! So let me share my frustrations before anyone else goes through it as well.

Team Drives - what a cool idea? Sounds fantastic, so I started the migration process, moving all my subject related files to a shared Team Drive and added my colleagues. Only after moving them, did I realise that you cannot share a Team Drive folder without adding people the drive. Yes, you read that right. You can share files externally, but not a whole folder. What the hell??! They should put up a warning before people start migrating (I've read of people who also lost files in the migration process, so use with caution!)

Ok, so that was a bummer. I moved the folders that I share publicly with this group as well as my own students, back into my drive (not that the old links work anymore - do tell me wherever you come across one so I can fix it please). At least Team Drive is still a cool concept and my colleagues and I can save our work to a central folder. 

Thing is, you can only use Team Drives with File Stream (not Backup & Sync - the Google Drive app replacement). That is a whole other monster on its own. Here's how it works if you're interested: when installed, it looks like you have an extra harddrive connected to your PC. When you open it, you see My Drive and Team Drives. You can see all the files and folders in your Google Drive, but none of them are downloaded onto your computer, they simply 'stream' to your computer when you double-click to open. However, you still have the ability to mark certain folders as 'available offline' so they will be downloaded to your PC. 

Two big problems showed up:
  1. After each restart, the drive doesn't pick up my account details again. It's about a 15-minute process each time to get the drive connected again. At least you have offline folders, right? Yeah, they're not. Not if File Stream doesn't pick up your account at the restart. So if you don't have internet connection upon restart (and 15 minutes to go through the process of connecting your account again), your offline folders are inaccessible. 
  2. Once File Stream is connected and up and running, it manages to make Windows Explorer crash with every other action. Open an offline file? Hang and crash. Open an online file that first needs to stream? Hang and crash. Not every time, but I'd say probably 1 in 4. This is another known problem you can find on the forums - seems to be an issue with Windows 10 (even after the Fall Creator's Update). 
So there you have it. I've had to download Backup & Sync (works like the old Google Drive, just a little updated) and moved all my folders back into My Drive and shared it the traditional way. What a waste of time. I'm really disappointed that Google released features with so many problems (and pretty much forced Business & Education users to use these features). When March 2018 comes (and the Google Drive app stops working), search for Backup & Sync and use that for your syncing needs. Feel free to try out Team Drives & File Stream, but use with caution before you start moving all your content like I did!

Have you tried and liked (or hated) these features? If you have, please share your experiences!
Such a pity, I have not tried any of Google's new features yet. I am so busy with the Microsoft stuff at the moment.

Matthew Hains
Tech Teachers - Blog and Resources for CAT teachers

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