Google Drive adds full offline storage mode – but there’s a catch

Google Drive
(Image credit: Google)

Currently in closed beta, the new feature represents an expansion of Drive’s existing offline storage mode, which offers the ability to view Docs, Slides and Sheets without an internet connection.

However, the beta is currently limited to G Suite organizations, meaning only business users can benefit for the time being – and even then there are some obstacles to access.

Boomtime for business boffins?

While the G Suite requirement is the biggest barrier for most Drive users, even subscriber organizations wishing to participate may find themselves left out in the cold.

As per the search giant’s recent blog post announcing the beta, domains will have to have both Drive File Stream and the service’s existing offline storage enabled.

In addition, the feature will only work in Google Chrome. This means that end users could still miss out if there prefer a more privacy-focussed tool like Mozilla Firefox – our current overall recommendation for the best internet browser.

The only guarantee for access, it seems, is for Google’s pre-existing Alpha test organisations, who the company says “will automatically be whitelisted” for the beta. 

Interested? Google is currently accepting applications for the beta trial.

Getting started if you’re accepted

Those who are accepted on the Google Drive beta trial program via their company should find enabling full offline storage fairly straightforward.

Provided your organization is all signed up, you’ll simply need to sign-in to your Google Drive account in Chrome, right click on the files you want to make available offline, and then set them as ‘Make available offline’.

After that, you can download them to your hard drive for offline access and voila – no more worrying about lethargic internet connectivity when you’re out and about.

James Laird

A technology journalist with nearly 10 years of experience, James is the former News and Features Editor at Trusted Reviews, and has also served as regional Editor of Lifehacker. His articles have been spotted on sites ranging from The Sun to InStyle, but his true love is shiny things and the story behind them. An avid golfer in his spare time, you'll also regularly catch him hovering over the BBQ listening to Pearl Jam.