Original Poster
A Google Drive User

Google Drive desktop client, 2 weeks usage report (it's not good)

I've been using the Google Drive desktop client for 2 weeks, it's been a very frustrating experience. I am using MBP / OSX 10.8.2.

Here's the report;
  • It took me 2 weeks to upload 20GB, ~50k files
  • The client has crashed a total of 37 times (all reports sent to google)
  • The CPU has been on constant 100% 24/7
  • The average memory usage was ~750MB
  • I've manually updated the client 2 times (auto update doesn't work)
  • Uploading a file is about 3x slower with the Desktop Client than using the browser (yes, I've benchmarked this)
  • The client spends about 15 mins on every upstart "scanning the web"
  • If I change the file structure (like adding / moving files) while syncing the client stops and eventually crashes (changing files are unavoidable when the total sync time is counted in weeks)
  • Deleting sub folders in the Google drive folder on the PC sometimes (happened on 3 occasions) have no effect on what's on the Drive. The files/folders remain.
All that's really bad of course, but it gets worse, much worse;

The sync is unsafe. When setting up the client on another computer (and waiting for it all to download)  and diffing the file tree on the original computer with the new one, 2741 files/folders were missing on the second computer. 751 files has significally different size (>5k). This means the Google Drive desktop client is unsuitable for backups, since it's lossy. For instance, out of 43 git repos, 13 was corrupt on the second PC.

To summarise; as it currently stands, the Google Drive desktop client is an unmitigated disaster. 

I know that google's community managers is doing the best they can on this forum, unfortunately it's not good enough. This needs to be escalated up the ranks so appropriate action can be taken.

Suggested course of action;
  • Immediately pull the Drive desktop client from the market
  • Re-write the desktop app from scratch
  • Refund/prolong subscription for any paying customers (this includes ChromeOS user that got 100GB "for free")
  • Relaunch in 6 months
  • Add (headless) linux support
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All Replies (6)
Bas Braams
Bas Braams
Thank you for this report! I think that the suggested course of action is correct, except that 6 months will not suffice; not with the present technical and management team. They had been talking about the launch of a GDrive for closer to 6 years already. A team that cannot correctly program a binary search or any other spreadsheets function [1], that allows users to delete files that they do not own and cannot see [2] and that is not able to provide a coherent specification for actions on shared files [3] -- such a team cannot produce a successful GDrive. I predicted their failure before the product was launched [4]:

<<There are fresh rumors that Google is soon to bring out the long-rumored "GDrive" as a competitor to Dropbox and other such systems. It is an interesting situation. If that "GDrive" is basically GDocs with modifications to the interface then it will fail, is my prediction: the GDocs technical team does not have the GDocs file system under their intellectual control and they won't do better with an expanded responsibility. And if the new "GDrive", should it materialize, is not associated with GDocs then that will appear as quite an indictment of the GDocs effort. Heads they loose, tails they loose. The potential winning situation for the rest of us would be if the new GDrive replaces the GDocs file system.>>

[1] (2012-09-26) Errors in the spreadsheets program

[2] (2011-06-04) Possibility to delete files that one does not own

[3] (2012-03-15) Re: Collection is lost when I uncheck its parent collection

[4] (2012-03-13) Re: Deleting Entire Google Docs Does NOT work
The issues listed above are well articulated, and match my experience.

I don't see it as my place to recommend actions to Google management, but I'm forced to look for alternatives to Google Drive for file sync. I would not and will not recommend this product to anyone until the basic file sync functionality is stable. 

I'm syncing large quantities of large files (photos and video).  Also observed that your windows client seems to be more stable than your osx client.

It would help the user base if known issues and updates were better communicated.

My experience has been very similar. Google Drive is currently unusable for business purposes and is an extremely bad idea if you want a reliable backup for personal files.
George Carstoiu
George Carstoiu
Google definitely has to do something about GDrive. I can understand their strategy of launching early and fixing later, but it seems they might have problems with the fixing part.
Glenn Paterson
Glenn Paterson
This is practically identical to my experience.

Though in addition to the above.  I have a local folder with 95Gb of photos.

The sync to Google Drive took weeks, many crashes, checks etc.

Now the client tells me I have no outstanding files to sync, yet my storage is only using 65Gb.

I have no idea which are the 30Gb of photos that haven't synced...

Not good!

The "funny" thing about that is you wrote that on 10/11/12. Today is 8/30/13, and the app is yet unstable and useless on Mac. I remember when Google started and they were surprising everybody with revolutionary and fantastic products. They have lost that level, and their products look weak and unstable for years. What a pity, and what a disappoint, really.
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