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.