Google has yet to release an official Linux client for its Drive cloud storage service, but that doesn’t mean you can’t access the service on Linux if you don’t want to go down the frequently-traveled web browser route.
We have, in fact, already discussed several ways to do that. But if you take a closer look, all the solutions we’ve discussed so far require you to install a dedicated third-party Google Drive client. What if installing a dedicated client isn’t an option? Is there a solution in that case?
Well, if you are talking in context of Ubuntu (or distros that use GNOME desktop in general), you’ll be glad to know that the answer is Yes. The solution that we’ll be discussing here will enable you to access the cloud storage service from within the Nautilus (GNOME files) file manager.
Note: all the commands and instructions mentioned in this article have been tested on Ubuntu 16.04.
To integrate the Google Drive service with the Nautilus file manager on your Ubuntu 16.04 machine, you need to first download and install the GNOME Control Center and Online Accounts packages, something which you can do by executing the following commands:
sudo apt-get install gnome-control-center gnome-online-accounts
After these packages are installed, launch the Control Center from the Ubuntu Dash.
Here, click the “Online Accounts” icon in the “Personal” section, and then click the “Add an online account” button in the window that appears.
Select Google from the list of services that appear, and then enter your Google account details.
Once the login is successful, you’ll see that the “Online Accounts” window shows what information from your Google account can be used.
Here the entry “Files” represents your Google Drive account.
After you are done with all the steps mentioned in the previous section, just open a new Nautilus window, and you’ll see that your Google Drive account appears as an entry in the sidebar.
If you want your Google Drive contents to be displayed as thumbnails, you can do so by heading to “Edit -> Preferences.” Here, in the “Preview” tab, change the value of the “Show thumbnails” field from “Local Files Only” to “Always.”
Keep in mind that all your Google files and directories that appear here aren’t a local copy of your stuff in the cloud. You can, however, open any of these, make changes, and save them. All the changes will be immediately reflected in the file/directory that’s stored in the cloud.
In case there’s a requirement to create a local copy of a file/directory, you can – at any point in time – copy it anywhere locally on your file-system.
Finally, to remove your Google Drive entry from the sidebar, just right-click on it and select the “Unmount” option.
The biggest upside of having the service integrated with your file manager is that you can gain access to it in just a few clicks (at the max). Not to mention the fact that you don’t need to brainstorm with a new software or client. If you are one of those who are neither comfortable with the command line nor interested in learning a new GUI client, I’d encourage you to give this solution a try.